– Hearing Thursday (September 23) United States Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Oversight Hearing: VA Disability Compensation: Presumptive Disability Decision-Making. VA Secretary Shinseki should publicly blast the sad sacks who sit on the United States Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs –
As the continuing lurid, anti-veteran drips emit from congress, it appears one U.S. senator after another issues statements of concern that veterans’ benefits cost money.
Early this Summer it was Sen. James Webb (D-VA) and Sen Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii) of United States Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs fairly squawking for a delay in the implementation of the expanded Agent Orange-related presumptives illnesses rule.
Of course, the usual cabal of anti-veteran interests has kept up the pressure.
Former Sen. Alan Simpson, Republican co-chair of the President’s Deficit Commission, in early September said, “the irony (is) that the veterans who saved this country are now, in a way, not helping us to save the country in this fiscal mess.” Simpson once was chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, and his anti-veteran commitments help guide us to this disgraceful situation where we are still arguing about helping victims of Agent Orange.
Yesterday, the ranking leading Republican on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) joined the anti-veteran chorus.
Mike Baker reports Burr blasting the Agent Orange-related presumptives illnesses rule: “We’d like to make sure that, one, the science has a causal link, and two, that the defined population is an appropriate one,” said Burr.
Webb and his anti-veteran cohorts appear upset that VA Sec Shinsekihas pushed on moving forward the Agent Orange presumtives rule without partnering with the sufficient Congressional stalling.
“On March 25, 2010, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced his intention to add B-cell Leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, and coronary artery disease to the list of presumptive conditions associated with exposure to Agent Orange,” wrote Sen Webb in July in reply to a veteran who wrote Webb blasting his stall tactics. “This decision was taken without full consultation with the Congress.”
Whether the hearing Thursday will be an exercise in political damage control or a continuation of the Vietnam veteran animus in Congress, one thing is certain: Never will Vietnam veterans ever trust this Congress again.
And VA Secretary Shinseki has gained some new supporters for his commitment on this issue. He should continue the fight Thursday and publicly blast the sad sacks who sit on the United States Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
Agent Orange is a political game for the likes of Webb, Burr and Simpson. Veterans who don’t play know better.