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Committee Reviews VA Budget to Better Care for Veterans

Nov 16, 2011 Issues: Economy, Veterans

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs met this week to discuss future spending by VA and how to better care for America’s veterans. Several Veterans Service Organizations provided the Committee with nine areas in which potential savings could be found to provide greater benefits and care within VA health and benefits programs. The recommendations, made to the Committee this spring, ranged from questionable bonus payments being made to senior executives when agency performance is deteriorating to better coordination of VA’s fee-basis program.

“It is my belief that veterans’ spending and defense spending remain the absolute top priority going forward,” Miller said. “Maintaining the nation’s defense is a clear constitutional charge of the Congress—and I include the care of those who have fought for our country’s freedom as an inextricable part of that charge.”

In addition, the VA Inspector General released a report yesterday in which the appropriations of 80 percent of Veterans Heath Administration bonuses and 79 percent of VA central office bonuses were called into question.

“In September, I asked Secretary Shineski to suspend VA’s executive bonus program until the concerns surrounding the program were resolved. The response I received was that everything was fine,” stated Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “In light of the VA OIG report, I am making that request a second time and encourage VA to stop payments of bonuses until it can be verified that these bonuses are prudent and merit-based, especially in today’s tough economy. No agency should ever be exempt from a constant effort to become more efficient in its operations, or root out waste, fraud, and other questionable spending.”