“The VA is steeped in a culture of ambivalence coupled with a lack of accountability.” I wrote those words in 2014. Sadly, little has changed, and nothing will until the Administration gets its act together and forces the VA to reform.
Most recently, we’ve heard that senior VA executives accused of pocketing hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars during their tenure won’t be held accountable. In fact, they are keeping their jobs and VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson is defending them, even though an inspector general report last year found that they had abused their authority.
There is no accountability in the VA. Less than a week ago, reports surfaced that veterans who called a crisis center weren’t even guaranteed to talk to a real person. But even while the VA fails to provide basic services to our veterans, executives caught pocketing money are left untouched. By doing this, the VA is sending a simple message that it will defend its bureaucratic elite even while it fails our veterans.
The House has already voted to give the Secretary of Veterans Affairs increased authority to fire senior executives at the VA that care more about helping themselves than veterans. But the bureaucracy and many Washington Democrats have resisted attempts to increase accountability at the VA. Ultimately, to fully reform the VA and create a truly 21st century health care system for our veterans, the Administration can’t be complacent. It must weed out the rampant neglect and incompetence in this outdated bureaucracy.