Congressional Republicans are ignoring the need for bipartisanship, and trying to blame President Obama for the VA scandal that they helped to create.
Here is Republican Sen. John Thune (R-SD) doing his best to blame President Obama for the latest VA scandal:
Thune compared the president’s response to the issues at the VA to Obamacare, “When it became clear that his health care website was a disaster, the president employed an all-hands-on-the-deck approach to fixing the problem, spending hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. In response to the V.A. disaster, on the other hand, the president has dispatched just a single staffer — a single staffer — to oversee the investigation. This is not acceptable.”
Video of Republican Sen. Marco Rubio calling the Obama administration incompetent on the VA:
President Obama delivered a dose of reality to Republicans who are hoping to turn this sad state of affairs into their next big scandal, “The point is, caring for our veterans is not an issue that popped up in recent weeks. Some of the problems with respect to how veterans are able to access the benefits that they’ve earned, that’s not a new issue. That’s an issue that I was working on when I was running for the United States Senate. Taking care of our veterans and their families has been one of the causes of my presidency, and it is something that all of us have to be involved with and have to be paying attention to.”
The problem is that Republicans and Democrats have all too often not been paying enough attention to the issues with the VA. Republican and Democratic presidents have had to deal with VA scandals. Both Democratic and Republican controlled Congresses have dropped the ball for decades on the VA.
The National Journal pointed out the cause of the problems at the VA is bipartisan, and it goes back to the 1960s:
Looking for a lone villain in the VA debacle, however, is a fool’s errand. It’s true that—despite holding the world’s most powerful post for five years—Obama is yet to eliminate the long waiting times for veterans seeking help. Blaming him alone, however, is to ignore roots of the problem that stretch back decades before Obama took the Oval Office.
Instead, the sheen of shame over the VA’s failures spreads across time and party affiliation. It stains the legacies of presidents as far back as John F. Kennedy and condemns past Congresses whose poor oversight allowed the problem to fester. The VA itself is also not without fault, as bureaucracy and intransigence let the department deteriorate to the point the problem became nearly impossible to fix.
The reason why the VA story won’t become a national scandal is that Republicans are also guilty of sweeping the issues under the rug, and letting them get worse. The real story features Republicans that are guilty of ignoring the VA, and this is something that Republicans in Congress would rather not talk about.
President Obama has done a lot of good things for our veterans. He has undertaken job creation initiatives for vets. The president has secured increased funding for the VA, and his administration has done remarkable work along with people like Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders in cutting the VA backlog, but these kinds of scandals will continue to happen because very people in Washington pay attention to the VA until it breaks.
This scandal isn’t President Obama’s fault. He is the guy who got stuck with this mess, because he is in office right now. If Republicans really cared about our veterans, they would stop trying to blame Obama, and start working with Democrats on legislation that would comprehensively reform the VA.
Veterans are waiting too long for care, but this has been an issues for years. The Republican attempts to blame Obama and call for the privatization of the VA are not answers.
The Republican compulsion to blame Obama for their own problems solves nothing, and will only allow a bad situation to continue to get worse for our nation’s veterans.
Republicans, as usual, have nothing, and President Obama is being left to clean up the decades worth of mess that they helped to cause.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association