Florida Rep. Gus Bilirakis outlined Saturday steps House Republicans have taken to hold the Department of Veterans' Affairs accountable for internal reforms it had promised, but has failed to follow through with in the wake of the 2014 scandal.
"Despite receiving more funding, the VA is still taking too long to process claims. Wait times are actually worse," Bilikrakis said in the GOP weekly address. "Despite receiving more authority to clean up the bureaucracy, the VA has held almost no one accountable for manipulating wait times. Meanwhile, some of the same people responsible for these problems received bonuses as if nothing happened."
The vice chairman of the House VA committee criticized the VA for not fixing the problems that were uncovered in 2014. He also complained about President Obama, who had promised to make the agency his "top priority" following the incident.
In light of the lack of changes made in the federal agency, Bilikrakis said Congress will do its part by pushing legislation and appropriation bills that exercise its power of the purse.
H.R. 4974, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill for fiscal 2017, was passed in the lower chamber last week and requires the VA meet new requirements for electronic health records, add hundreds of new employees to handle claims appeals and prohibits all VA senior executive service managers from receiving financial bonuses.
"Because we can't throw money at the problem all the time, ok? It won't go away just doing that. We need real and meaningful reforms at the VA," Bilikrakis concluded.