Democrat Turns The Tables and Blasts House Republican for Voting Against VA Funding


Former Speaker of the Colorado House and Democratic candidate for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District Andrew Romanoff knows how to run for office. He turned the tables on Republicans, and is using the VA scandal against a vulnerable Republican incumbent.

Romanoff’s office sent out a clipping from a local paper which pointed out that Romanaff’s Republican opponent incumbent Congressman Mike Coffman, “one of the loudest critics of the VA” who called for Secretary of the VA Gen. Eric Shinseki to be fired, voted as recently as January against a bill that included $100 million to reduce the growing backlog of veterans waiting for care.

It gets worse. He also voted against two bills that included funding for the Aurora, Colorado VA hospital. Per the Aurora Sentinel:

Aurora U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican, as recently as January voted against a spending bill that would have set aside as much as $100 million for overtime and additional training for claims processors to reduce the growing backlog of veterans waiting for care. Coffman joined 66 other Republicans in the House, including Colorado congressmen Doug Lamborn, Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton, in voting against that appropriations bill. VA officials and the Obama Administration are embroiled in a nationwide controversy over shoddy medical care for veterans.

Locally, Coffman has been critical of the VA’s handling of a replacement hospital being built in Aurora, which is the focus of a controversy about being over budget. Hundreds of millions in funding for the maligned Aurora VA hospital have also been packaged in larger spending bills that have faced opposition by Coffman and other GOP lawmakers. Two large bills that provided nearly $200 million in funding for the hospital in Aurora were opposed by Coffman in the years leading up to this most recent spate of criticism for mismanagement. A funding bill in 2009 for $119 million and a funding bill in 2011 for $42 million set aside for the VA hospital in Aurora were both opposed by Coffman. The 2011 appropriations bill would have been drafted by Republicans in control of Congress.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) is spending on the CD-6 race as if they think Romanoff could win. Obama took the area in 2012.

Mitt Romney has endorsed Coffman and will raise money for him. Naturally in his endorsement, Romney blamed Obama for the VA problems, “We will fight to reduce reckless spending and hold the Obama administration accountable for its many failures, from Obamacare to coverups at the VA.”

But the truth is that the wait problems at the VA are chronic. Republicans refused to give President Obama the funding he asked for (on average 2 billion less a year, per PolitiFact) on top of blocking multiple bills meant to help veterans. Studies show that due to the wars, the VA will need funding up to 1 trillion dollars. Yet Republicans keep insisting that wait times are not a funding problem.

The math isn’t hard. There’s a huge influx of veterans on an already taxed system, and additional paperwork requirements and lag times in getting info from other agencies. The VA is overburdened.

“The problems at the VA will be resolved not by words but by action. That means demanding accountability both from the administration and from Congress. Our veterans deserve no less,” Romanoff said, indicating that he seems to understand that what is needed here is action, not cheap shots at Shinseki or Obama because it’s an election year.

Coffman is the Republican Congressman who not only questioned if the President was born in America, but announced that Obama was not an American. Coffman told donors, “I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don’t know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.”

According to Romanoff’s campaign site he has a lifelong commitment to civil rights, “An early stint at the Southern Poverty Law Center fueled a lifelong commitment to civil rights. Andrew also served on the board of the Center for Women’s Employment and Education, a job-training agency for low-income women.”

Romanoff understands that voting against veterans over and over again, as Republicans have, is the issue. Republicans are taking cheap shots from glass houses, but at least one Democrat isn’t running scared from fighting Republicans over their craven, desperate framing of the problem. The real issue is taking care of our veterans, not scoring cheap political points.

26 Replies to “Democrat Turns The Tables and Blasts House Republican for Voting Against VA Funding”

  1. As a Veteran, I will never vote for a GOP member for any office again. They have repeatedly drawn blood by cutting and or blocking needed funds for Veterans. They are more of an enemy to Veterans then any foreign entity. By their chosen voting choices that not only have hurt Veterans but attacked the survival of the families of Veterans.

  2. @Raymond Smith, I too am a veteran and have never voted for a republican and never will. They are the first to spew patriotism and the last to do anything for vets or their families. I have thought so many times about when the soldier told Rumsfeld they needed armour for their vehicles and his reply was, “You go to war with what you have.”

  3. Shortages of DOCTORS is the biggest slowdown to treatment for Veterans. Newer hospitals would help, too. Voting against help for Veterans should be a shootable offense. Send ’em to War, then forget them? The Republican Way ! Then blame everybody else for the problems.

  4. I think all democratic politicians and even private citizens should investigate all of the GOP/Teabaggers who refused to support bills to aid our brave American Vets. use their faces, voting records and any statement they have made about spending too much on the Vets and their programs. Force them to answer to the public why in the hell should they put them back into office. It’s time to force the hands of these hypocrites. They can only shift the blame so many times and seems like their time is running out. The problem is they think they don’t have to answer to anybody.

  5. There isn’t a republican who isn’t vulnerable this election cycle. Saying no to everything is easy and had curb appeal for a year or two. But that game is over. People want solutions to our problems and “just say no” isn’t a solution. Democrats who propose solutions (right or wrong) have the upper hand if they hammer it home that the republicans have nothing but more “no” to offer.

  6. If it were only so easy to paint the bad guys red and the good guys blue, but it’s just not that simple. I supported Obama the first time, but he is not what he portrayed himself to be. I’m a veteran and I require medical care, but not the kind Shinseki is offering. We need a kick-ass first sergeant and not some 4 star Prima donna who flits from defense contractor to another lucrative do-nothing post. Mr. Obama needs to kick him out yesterday! And please note that Mr. Obama is a Democrat.

  7. I see you haven’t been paying attention. How can you do more t with less? The blame lies with republicans who cant find the money to fully fund the VA but can give 600 billion in tax breaks to people who don’t need it. Remember the VA is still caring for WW2 VETS and then you going to dump another million into the system and expect miracles? Sometimes I wonder if people can still put 2 and 2 together

  8. It has all been said but must be repeated- the strategy of Republican politicians to inject failure into the system and then blame democrats for it is time worn and extremely tired. Yet they continue. It is astounding, then, that their record of cutting funding for the VA and other needed veteran benefits is a matter of record. Why, then, do republicans not get what their “leaders” are doing to the veterans they “supported” when they committed them to war. You people need to wake up. If you’re not part of the solution…you are part of the problem. As a reminder, both George Bush (as president) and John McCain voted against an attempt to update the GI Bill several times during the Bush administration. The GI Bill had not been updated since 1953. What did it take to finally correct this injustice? It took Barack Obama becoming President of the United States to get it done. The republicans attempt to claim ownership of patriotism and Christianity. They.are.neither.

  9. Not one but two wars at the same time and the VA was in no way set up to handle this amount of soldiers.And why are people asking for this guys regisnation? It is so damn easy for people to sit back and complain.They have no idea what it takes to handle such a mess.When Bush shut down Fort Mammonth,New Jersey it was even a greater mess.People need to keep up with what is really going on.I am not so sure this was a set up.They can’t find anything elese to complain about.

  10. Mike Snyder: Surely you are aware that problems with the VA did not just start.

    Also, I know that you are aware that since 1999 republicans have voted AGAINST bills that would have helped vets, even the war hero John McCain who has voted AGAINST EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF LEGISLATION that would help vets and their families.

    Google “John McCain’s record on vets and troops. It is eve opening. And disgusting.

  11. Where is the veteran outrage that a non-veteran like Senator Richard Burr should have any audience or command veterans over spending and benefits due them? As a veteran, I call every veteran to call, write, e-mail and confront this no-good at every turn! It is the squeaky wheel that gets greased. The title here is Veterans United Network and that should cross party lines. We have an all-volunteer military and it rankles me that any non-military member of Congress can have the audacity to turn his back on us!

  12. Our country has a real problem,the teathugliKKKans who are the real enemies of the Vets & the 99% and we must rid our country of this garbage because too much trash has accumulated. VOTE BLUE!

  13. I agree with Rudy, as Rachel said Burr’s previous experience was as a lawnmower salesman.

    I am confused about this so called scandal of two waiting lists, when my husband and I came
    back to the states some 14 years ago and had
    not found a doctor (my husband is a disabled viet nam veteran) we went to the VA clinic at Winston Salem and were given the information that there were two lists (waiting) one was for disabled and retired veterans, the other was for any veteran who had ever served and just wanted to go to the VA for lack of insurance, they explained that those who had served for a short time and got out of the service would be seen on a space available basis.(If they were in need of immediate care they could be referred to a civilian doctor, I thought it was always like this!

  14. Andrew Romanoff had the guts that every Democrat should’ve had after the Senate vote to increase benefits failed because of the GOPs. Instead, most kept quiet, as they usually do in every situation.

  15. The obstructionist always do their damage and I feel that Shineski should stay to correct the VA problems because after all everyone needs their supplies in order to function properly and this is something the rethugliKKKans have denied the Vets & the American people and these heartless turds have got to go! I am hoping & praying that President Obama give this deserving man who has served his country for 30yrs a chance to correct the problems which includes the past administrations.

  16. It is an historical fact that the so called republican hero, Ronald Reagan was the first president to cut funding and benefits for our veterans. George W Bush was the other president who cut more from our veterans benefits after he started two UNFUNDED wars.

  17. It is an historical fact that the so called republican hero, Ronald Reagan was the first president to cut funding and benefits for our veterans. George W Bush was the other president who cut more from our veterans benefits after he started two UNFUNDED wars.

  18. Upon reading the article I noticed in the last line that it says he was fired. I do believe there is a difference between resignation and firing. His replacement has a tough job in front of him, and I am sure every thing he tries to do will be put under the microscope by the very people who thus far have refused to do any thing at all to help the Vets. At any rate it will not be fixed over night.

  19. It’s amazing how much the American public forgets, and how quickly it happens. Those of us who do remember should at every chance remind others.

  20. Finally! Now maybe they will hammer the Republicans for voting down funding for Embassy security as well. BENGHAZI!

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