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.)