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Kirkpatrick Says VA Legislation is a First Step
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., said newly passed Veterans Administration legislation tackles head-on the problems of "a corrupt scheduling system, a persistent staffing shortage and an outrageous lack of accountability."
“Today’s passage is a starting point on the VA’s long road to recovery," she said in a statement. "At its core, the nationwide VA crisis was about delayed and denied care for our veterans. With the help of courageous whistleblowers, the curtain was pulled back on the VA to reveal a corrupt scheduling system, a persistent staffing shortage and an outrageous lack of accountability. This legislation tackles these problems head-on, but the hard part comes next: We must demand innovation, discipline and follow-through of the VA leadership. Congress must provide oversight and hold the VA accountable. And all of us must never lose sight of who this historic effort is ultimately for: the men and women who sacrificed for our nation.”
Kirkpatrick, Arizona’s representative on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the Ranking Member of its Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, spoke on the House floor to urge passage.
In March, she was the first member of Congress to bring the Phoenix VA allegations to the Inspector General. In April, she and the subcommittee chairman, Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., formally announced that their committee will hold hearings on the Phoenix VA allegations after the Office of Inspector General completes its investigation.
In May, she requested a nationwide audit of all VA medical facilities. In June, she introduced the House companion bill to Arizona Sen. John McCain’s major VA reform bill – the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014. And on June 18, House leadership appointed Kirkpatrick to the bipartisan House-Senate conference committee to finalize major VA reform legislation.
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