Rep. Jeff Miller: 'Bonuses and promotions' spur cooked Veterans Affairs books

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The chairmen of the House and the Senate Veterans Affairs panels are split as to whether the Veterans Affairs scandal is the result of too little money flowing to the department.

House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., said the department's falsifying of records to obscure long wait times that led to 23 deaths was a result of "bonuses and promotions" for moving veterans through the system. He said giving Veterans Affairs more funding wouldn't solve the problem.

"No, what you have is an issue of manipulation and mismanagement. If money was the issue then this would have been solved a long time ago," Miller said on CNN's "State of the Union."

But Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who chairs the Senate panel, said Veterans Affairs needs more resources.

"I suspect we are going to need more funding," he said on "State of the Union."

Sanders said that the Veterans Affairs has been overwhelmed by veterans coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan combined with aging ones from the Korean and Vietnam wars. Veterans Affairs' protocol, which requires getting people into the system within 14 days, is therefore unrealistic, he said.

Sanders said Veterans Affairs would either need to relax that 14-day target or tell veterans to go to private hospitals — an option Veterans Affairs expanded Saturday — in the absence of more funding.

Despite the differences between the two lawmakers, both agreed it's too early to call for the ouster of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

"This is much larger than the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs," Miller said.

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Zack Colman

Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner