VA Sec. Erik Shinseki impresses

Here on ASKNOD, we’ve taken a look at some of the wasteful spending by the VA under Secretary Shinseki’s leadership and denounced that waste. He’s regularly chewed out by the Veterans’ committees in the House and Senate for waste. However, right now, it’s time for some praise; Sec. Shinseki may be the best friend veterans have representing them on Capital Hill.

His sincere testimony before the House Committee on 10/9/13 on the gravity of this situation was compelling. Even child victims of AO will not get benefits. Millions will see their resources reduced to zero.  Chairman Miller is not reacting to this catastrophe the way a normal person would–with empathy and alarm.  In fact, Miller tries to lay some blame on the Secretary for not preparing for the shutdown, a shutdown Sec. Erik didn’t know was going to occur!

Here’s some dialogue about two hours into the hearing.  (I’ve transcribed this from the video as best I can):

Chairman Miller (cool as a cucumber):  We knew the possibility of this some time ago.  I don’t believe anyone in this room wanted to be where we are today.  Do you believe the same thing Mr. Secretary?

Sec. Shinseki (incredulous): “Ah, you know, from my background you look at all the options. This is not one I believed would happen.  I just didn’t think (authentic pained expression) the august members of this committee or the Congress would allow this to happen….So Mr. Chairman, you knew the shutdown was going to happen. It wasn’t shared with me.”

Then Chairman Miller goes on to insult him but Shinseki defends himself, the VA, and veterans well.  Also memorable was Congresswoman Brown of Florida. She’s a firecracker, the member showing real passion in this otherwise too polite hearing. I enjoyed her plain talk.  She’s a true ally.  If you have time to listen, there is a lot to learn about the National Cemetery Administration, IT, the budget, and more.  The VSO (ex. Paralyzed Vets)  statements can be accessed here. 

(Note: these opinions are my own.)


About Laura

NW Vermont.
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5 Responses to VA Sec. Erik Shinseki impresses

  1. david j murphy says:

    Must say i’m. supprised, This is the same drivel that the Govt pumps out every debt ceiling increase or CR in the last 51/2 years. As it gets closer the tune will change, allways has. Shinseki is a midget in a giants shoes and needs to go. He is able to continue to fund Vets under his discretion. If he choses not to he MUST GO. Must take issue with your opinion, however you have every right to express it.

    • Kiedove says:

      David, Thank you for your comment. But I’ve listened and looked at the facts he presented and there just is NOT enough money in the till “to fund Vets under his discretion” as you believe on November 1. He could be replaced with someone better, or someone a lot worse. I don’t know. But right now, he’s got the job and we need him to step up. And he has.

  2. Kel says:

    Without trying to get political, I’ve been saying all along which side is our advocate. Rep. Miller talked a good story last summer, but now when the chips are truly down he dons his Spanish inquisition hat in an attempt to save his own job, which by the way, he is still getting PAID for!

    • Kiedove says:

      So true. We can discuss the words & actions of individual elected representatives without ever mentioning the party they belong to. That way we can avoid partisan politics per se on this site–something we must avoid. Just never mention the TRIBE a person “belongs” to. Every party also has mavericks who are not very tribal, into group think, or monkey see, monkey do. Let people interested in tribal matters, look up their bios online.
      That way we stick to discuss the issues being voted on in Congress. Anyway, tribes aren’t doing this; individual people are.
      Rep. Miller does get credit for pushing for all VA appropriations getting approved ahead of time. That’s the only reason the health services are still operating. They got their money on Oct. 1. It’s the other 20% of the VA is over the cliff on Nov.. 1. We are talking about starvation, not just hunger in this country for millions if this drags on and local communities don’t organize in time up to prevent it.. Deliveries of boxed supplemental community food supplies from the USDA programs have stopped in some areas even though there is still surplus food in warehouses. This food is a nutritional lifeline for those living on VA pensions, and others living at or below the poverty line. The boxes have cheese, dried milk, cereals, pasta, canned vegetables and so forth.

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