That didn’t take long…
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) is already attempting to walk back his defense of the VA Secretary, as AmericaRisingPac.org reports:
While your tax dollars will apparently go towards helping Brad Manning receive his sex change hormone treatments…the federal Department of Justice apparently has no plans to prosecute the federal employees who allegedly created a secret waiting list, allowing at least 40 veterans to die while awaiting VA care.
I noted in an earlier post how Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) got hammered by an MSNBC panel for defending the VA.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) also points out that apppointed Sen. John Walsh (D-MT), who is still desparately seeking the Democratic nomination in the US Senate race, continues to cover for the VA.
From the NRSC: Inept Senator Walsh In Over His Head
Even more noteworthy, last week Representative Steve Daines was among the first in the country to call upon Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to resign following recent reports of VA hospitals purposely hiding delays in treatments and problems resulting in preventable deaths of veterans awaiting health care services. John Walsh rushed to Shinseki’s defense, bizarrely blaming Daines for problems at the VA.
Walsh’s utter cluelessness shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, considering that his management has come under fire before. It is well known that Walsh poorly managed federal money at Montana Department of Military Affairs. It isn’t a secret that he was named as a defendant in sex based favoritism lawsuits. He was even reprimanded by a Senior Army Official, who questioned his ability to lead. Let’s not even begin to talk about the Senator’s social media predilections.
Walsh, who is embroiled in a Democratic primary, has run an inept campaign and trails Republican Steve Daines by double digits. He’s also proven to be an inept Senator, even when it comes to defending our nation’s veterans. Democratic Senator John Tester is now coming under fire for defending General Shinseki and ridiculously claiming that the VA is doing a “pretty darn good job.”
Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the Department of Justice doesn’t have any plans to investigate allegations that veterans placed on secret waiting lists at VA hospitals died while waiting for care.
“Well, obviously these reports if they’re true are unacceptable, and the allegations are being taken very seriously by the administration. But I don’t have any announcements at this time with regard to anything that the Justice Department is doing,” Holder told reporters at a press conference.
A congressman who flew in the Air Force on tours in Iraq and Afghanistan said firings may not be enough to rectify the Veterans Administration waitlist scandal — people may need to go to jail.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told Fox that, as the allegations of the VA inappropriately making veterans wait for care and concealing the scheduling spread from Arizona to other states, the scandal likely “actually goes deeper.”
“…This is not a game. This is life and death. This is dead real, and this is what we make a commitment to the people that defend us every day. Look, not only do people need to be suspended, not only do they need to be fired, we need to talk about who needs to end up in jail over this. Because if you are going through and creating a problem that is in some cases maybe costing veterans their lives, it’s negligence and this goes to a level that’s far beyond anything I think we’ve dealt with so far.”
From Fox News First on Thursday morning: BAIER TRACKS: OBAMA CAN’T RIDE OUT VETS SCANDAL…
“While Republicans have set their sights on getting to the bottom of the Benghazi and the IRS controversies, another scandal has been brewing that threatens to overtake the administration sooner – as in right now. Americans have been horrified to hear allegations of fraud, faked documents, shoddy healthcare and deadly delays at Veterans Affairs hospitals. It is unimaginable to most that those who have served our country could be treated so poorly by the government that owes them so much. What started in Arizona has now spread to other facilities around the country. And they just keep coming. Last night, the agency revealed new reports about potential wrongdoing at a North Carolina veterans’ hospital. If the scandal continues to snowball, two things will likely happen: 1) President Obama will be forced to address the subject in greater detail. 2) Secretary Eric Shinseki will have to step down. This doesn’t feel like an instance where the administration can do what it has attempted in other scandals and ride it out or try to convince reporters it has already dealt with. But, in Washington, anything can happen.” – Bret Baier.
Report: vets’ cancer tests delayed, denied – Patients of a southeast Texas Department of Veterans Affairs facility had life-saving cancer tests delayed or denied as a cost-cutting measure, a whistleblower told the Washington Examiner. “Dr. Richard Krugman, former associate chief of staff at the Veterans Affairs health care system based in Harlingen, Texas, said his boss implemented a policy in 2010 that colonoscopies would only be approved if the patient tested positive in three successive screenings for bloody stools. ‘By the time that you do the colonoscopies on these patients, you went from a stage 1 to a stage 4 [colorectal cancer], which is basically inoperable,’ said Krugman, ‘That was done because of dollars and cents.’”
VA Scandal Deepens, While Walsh Covers for Shinseki
While a scandal within the Department of Veterans Affairs deepens, appointed Sen. John Walsh (D-MT) appears to be covering for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.
Also from Washington, the Keystone XL pipeline fizzles yet again, as Democrats block a vote in the US Senate.
Here’s the latest from Fox News First: VA SCANDAL DEEPENS
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki will head to the hill next week to testify in front of the House Veterans Affairs Committee the claim that a Phoenix VA hospital had a “secret waiting list” for sick veterans. The supposed list contained around 1,500 veterans being forced to wait for appointments at the hospital that resulted in more than 40 deaths. Fox News: “The vote [to subpoena Shinseki] on the House Veterans Affairs Committee comes as Shinseki begins to face calls — from Congress and beyond — for his resignation. In an interview with CBS News, Shinseki brushed aside those calls, while acknowledging that the Phoenix controversy ‘makes me angry.’ Shinseki has placed top Phoenix officials on leave as the department tries to get to the bottom of what happened.” The committee chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., told the WaPo, “It is unfortunate that we have to come to this decision, but we did not do so without substantial justification…The last few weeks have been a model of VA stonewalling, which precipitated the need for a subpoena.”
While the national American Legion is demaning Shinseki’s resignation, it appears appointed Sen. John Walsh (D-MT) is covering for Shinseki, all while attempting to take a cheap partisan political shot.
Here’s what I said on Facebook after Congressman Steve Daines (R-MT) called on Shinseki to resign, and Walsh tried to blame the VA problems on funding:
This is completely despicable of appointed Sen. John Walsh to lie about VA funding bills to advance his career. Just because Shinseki served in the military doesn’t mean incompetence at the top of the VA should be tolerated- it is a disservice to our veterans. Then again…many folks believe the appointed Senator is incompetent at the job he is filling as well, and he uses his military service on his sleeve as an excuse to stay in the job.
In addition to Daines, former SEAL Team 6 commander and US House candidate Ryan Zinke (R-MT) is also calling on Shinseki to step down.
Even a blogger fairly well connected to the Hilltop consultants running the Walsh campaign thinks Shinseki should resign:
On another note, the Keystone XL pipeline fizzled once again in the Democratic-controlled US Senate this week.
Politico’s “Morning Energy” notes:
That was fast: Republicans quickly began criticizing several Democrats who support Keystone XL but are vulnerable this fall. Republican National Committee spokesman Jahan Wilcox said the blocked vote “is a blow to every Democrat Senator – especially Energy Committee Chairwoman Mary Landrieu – who claims they can deliver for their constituents.” And Republican Steve Daines’ campaign quickly went after Democrat John Walsh, who co-sponsored the Keystone XL bill, in an email blast with the subject line: “With Senate Keystone Vote Canceled, Where’s Walsh?”
“Even if Senate Democrats would rather pander to the far left and shut down debate, Republicans are going to keep fighting for the middle class,” McConnell said.