May 23, 2013

McCarthy Introduces Legislation to Reduce VA Disability Claims Backlog and Hold the VA Accountable

Washington D.C. – Congressman Kevin McCarthy today introduced legislation to hold the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) accountable to reduce the backlog on VA disability claims. The Ending VA Claims Disability Backlog and Accountability Act would implement the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office’s recommendations, which are a result of an audit that Congressman McCarthy requested based on the persistent and intolerable backlogs that local veterans face at the VA Los Angeles Regional Office and at VA facilities across the country.

Joining Congressman McCarthy as an original cosponsor of H.R. 2138 is House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Mike Coffman.

Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) issued the following statement:

“It is astonishing that VA leadership still lacks a clear and coherent plan to fix the intolerable backlogs on disability claims facing our veterans at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Los Angeles Regional Office in California and regional offices across the country. I said in January that if the VA failed to take immediate and substantive steps to address these issues, the House would. House Veterans Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller and I have sent letters and conducted hearings with VA leadership on this issue and their response has so far lacked any real substance or details as to how they will eliminate the backlog by 2015, as promised by the Secretary of VA. That is why I have authored new legislation designed to enact the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office’s recommendations to correct the disability claims backlog problem and keep the VA accountable to this end – no excuses. I am not interested in empty promises or vague strategies when it comes to the care of individuals who have served and sacrificed for our freedom, and I will continue to hold VA leadership accountable until our veterans see real results and have access to the care and benefits they deserve in a timely manner.”

Chairman Jeff Miller (FL-1) issued the following statement:

“If there’s one thing VA could use more of, it’s accountability. This bill would ensure VA implements GAO’s common-sense recommendations for improving the department’s claims processing operations and ending the backlog by 2015. Additionally it would set incremental benchmarks leading up to 2015 to measure whether VA is on track to break the backlog, introducing the much-needed elements of responsibility and transparency to the department’s claims processing efforts

Chairman Mike Coffman (CO-6) issued the following statement:

“Unfortunately, the extraordinarily long wait times in the Veteran Administration’s disability claims process pose a massive barrier to our veterans’ access to the compensation they have earned. We need to have all hands on deck in order to solve this problem and for this reason I am happy to join Majority Whip McCarthy in his effort to implement commonsense recommendations from GAO that will help our veterans get the benefits they have earned.”