THE ISSUE: There are an estimated 21.6 million veterans in the United States. Among them, nearly 9 million are enrolled in health care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. About 4.3 million veterans get disability compensation from the VA and nearly 900,000 have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.But the problem is, none of this is new and since we live with it every day, every year, we know the struggles do not belong to who sits in the Oval Office. Every issue veterans and families face belong to Congress. The President sets, or is supposed to set, the direction the country needs to go in. The Congress has the obligation to fulfill their end of the deal, but they don't.
A 2014 law signed by President Barack Obama aimed to alleviate delays many veterans faced in getting treatment at VA hospitals and clinics and end the widespread practice of fake wait lists that covered up long waits for veterans seeking health care. Two years later, many of the problems remain.
Congress has had since 1946 to find a way to take care of veterans. Think about that for a second. Then add in the simple fact that no wound is new. They declared two wars when there was already a line of older veterans waiting to be cared for in return for what their service did to them. Congress did not come close to honoring those they sent.
Want proof? Ok, here is what the House Veterans Affairs Committee had been in charge of since 1946.
House Veterans Affairs Committee
History And Jurisdiction
The Committee on Veterans' Affairs of the House of Representatives was authorized by enactment of Public Law 601, 79th Congress, which was entitled "Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946." Section 121(a) of this Act provides: "there shall be elected by the House at the commencement of each Congress the following standing committees": Nineteen Committees are listed and No. 18 quotes: "Committee on Veterans' Affairs, to consist of 27 Members." This Act has since been amended so that there are now 22 Standing Committees in the House of Representatives. The number of Members (Representatives) authorized to serve on each Committee has been changed from time to time. There are currently 29 members of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
The Committee on Veterans' Affairs is the authorizing Committee for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Committee recommends legislation expanding, curtailing, or fine-tuning existing laws relating to veterans' benefits. The Committee also has oversight responsibility, which means monitoring and evaluating the operations of the VA. If the Committee finds the that VA is not administering laws as Congress intended, then it is "corrected" through the hearing process and legislation. We are the voice of Congress for veterans in dealings with the VA.
Legislation Within the Jurisdiction of the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Veterans' measures generally.
Pensions of all the wars of the U.S., general and special.
Life insurance issued by the government on account of service in the Armed Forces.
Compensation, vocational rehabilitation, and education of veterans.
Veterans' hospitals, medical care, and treatment of veterans.
Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief.
Readjustment of servicemen to civilian life.
Complete Jurisdiction of the Committee
The Department of Veterans Affairs
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was established March 15, 1989, with Cabinet rank, succeeding the Veterans Administration and assuming responsibility for providing federal benefits to veterans and their dependents. Led by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, VA is the second largest of the 14 Cabinet departments and operates nationwide programs of health care assistance services and national cemeteries.
Care for veterans and dependents spans centuries. The last dependent of a Revolutionary War veteran died in 1911, the War of 1812's last dependent died 44 years ago, the Spanish American War's, in 1962. There are widows and children of Civil War and Indian War veterans who still draw VA benefits. Some 2,190 children and widows of Spanish-American War veterans are receiving VA compensation or pension benefits. The last American Doughboy, Corporal Frank Buckles, passed away on February 27, 2011. His passing signified the passing of the last of the World War I veterans.
As long as we are avoiding the fact that members of Congress have ditched their duty, it really doesn't matter who ends up in the chair. Veterans will continue to be failed by the same people who created their wounds in the first place. It has been going on for decades. Look up the voting record of the people you sent to do their jobs in Washington and then ask them why they didn't take care of those who went to war to do their jobs.
When you're done with that, ask them how much more money they plan on spending while veterans keep committing suicide after they survived those wars and came home to the mess Congress created. The reported number is the same as it was back in 1999 but there are about 5 million less veterans now.