Topics: Veterans Affairs

Nancy Pelosi blames George W. Bush for Veterans Affairs scandal

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Joel Gehrke,Veterans Affairs,Afghanistan,Iraq,Nancy Pelosi,George W. Bush,Veterans

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., repeatedly put the blame for the Veterans Affairs scandal on former President George W. Bush, while arguing that her party has worked hard for veterans in recent years.

Pelosi took a shot at Bush while saying that the scandal is a high priority for Obama. "He sees the ramifications of some seeds that were sown a long time ago, when you have two wars over a long period of time and many, many more, millions more veterans," she told reporters during her Thursday press briefing. "And so, I know that he is upset about it."

The Democratic leader never mentioned Bush by name, but she alluded to him early and often in the press briefing.

"Maybe when we go into war, we should be thinking about its consequences and its ramifications," Pelosi said while discussing the scandal. "You would think that would be a given, but maybe it wasn't. And so, we go in a war in Afghanistan, leave Afghanistan for Iraq with unfinished business in Afghanistan. Ten years later, we have all of these additional veterans. In the past five years, two million more veterans needing benefits from the VA. That's a huge, huge increase."

She suggested that Obamacare might hold the key to solving the problem. "We have the Affordable Care Act that is out there that is providing resources for more federally-qualified health clinics around the country," Pelosi said. "Maybe we should take a look at how we deal with our veterans' needs in a way that says let's help them closer to home, whether that's a federally qualified health clinic or in some other institution that provides health care closer to home. [It's] especially important for our veterans who live in rural areas."

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