Senate and House Differ on How to Clear VA Claims Backlog

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki (L) with Sen. Bernie Sanders (R), chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki (L) with Sen. Bernie Sanders (R), chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Last week, Florida Cong. Jeff Miller, the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, called for the formation of a task force to investigate the huge backlog of disability claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

But his senate counterpart thinks such a move is unnecessary. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Independent chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, is cited in the Washington Post:

Sen. Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.), said a presidential panel, which has been pushed by the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, would likely not help solve the problem, which he said has already been studied thoroughly.

“You bring these people together for 18 more hearings, and in the real world, that slows down the progress you’re making,” Sanders said.

Sanders made his comments during an interview taped Thursday for C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers”

The VA has a backlog of more than 830,000 disability benefits claims and a vast majority (about two-thirds) have been waiting more than four months for action.

Sanders did call on President Barack Obama to resolve the disagreement between the VA and the Department of Defense over what electronic system to use for medical records that will be compatible with the DoD and VA.

Really? One hopes that for the good of the active-duty and veteran alike that the two departments make that compatibility a priority.

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