Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Walz on VA bonuses

Our friends at Bluestem Prairie, Minnesota Campaign Report and I Don't Hate America all have posts up about Congressman Walz' reaction to large VA bonuses in the face of large budget shortfalls and even larger backlogs in patient care.

I am appalled that a young soldier, fighting for an entire year in Iraq, still could not make $33,000 a year, much less as a bonus!

MCR points out...
We're still feeling the effects of that incompetence, that cronyism, that greed,
and those hollow promises. Luckily we have a Democratic Congress that can
exercise oversight on these issues for the sake of our veterans and our entire
country, and not just those who can afford to keep lobbyists on staff in D.C.

Exactly! For the past 4 years we have heard this mantra that only Republicans support our troops.

Who isn't profiting off of this war? Seriously!

We have the defense industry that is fielding new weapons and different versions of ammunition, costing the tax payers billions.

No bid contracts for construction projects, which according to the 60 Minutes report, 7 of 8 they could inspect have failed.

We have the private defense contractors who provide security and perform other missions in Iraq, making 5-10 times more than an enlisted soldier could get paid to do the same military mission.

Iraq is the testing ground for the neo-con military industrial complex. While the vast majority of Americans support a speedy withdrawal from Iraq, these groups that profit heavily coerce Congress to stay.


And to answer the question who isn't profiting, it's the soldier and their families. Go read the military blogs linked to the left of this text. The young soldier at Army of Dude was extended for another few months in Iraq. The soldier at Burst Asunder was involuntarily extended for an entire tour in Iraq, which will now be 15 months!

Bluestem Prairie has the text of Congressman Walz' statement.
"I have lost confidence in Secretary Nicholson and a number of the VA's senior
officials," said Walz. "I intend to give the Secretary a chance to explain
himself to the Veterans' Affairs Committee this week. If the Secretary
cannot prove that those bonuses were based on significant documented successes
that I am currently unaware of, then Secretary Nicholson should step down."

Ollie Ox points out Nicholson's history as the head of the Republican National Committee, raising money for Bush. We would indeed like to see someone qualified to oversee a large bureaucracy, versus someone who can raise lots of money for Republicans.

Lastly, our friends at IDHA have posted on Congressman Walz' statement as well.

Think Progress has a post up about the length of time it takes for a Veteran to receive benefits in the VA system.

Length of backlog veterans face when filing disability claims with the Veterans
Affairs Department — “about six times longer than is typical in the private
sector.” VA records show that “pending disability claims with the VA take an
average of 177 days to process,” but “for some, the wait time is almost a year".

And for that, you get a $33,000 bonus.

No comments: