Bennet all talk, no action on violence against veterans by not supporting VA Accountability Act

Bennet all talk, no action on violence against veterans by not supporting VA Accountability Act

DENVER—Last week it was revealed the Colorado Springs VA clinic lied that veterans received appointments sooner than they actually did, and at least 288 veterans’ wait-time surpassed the 30-day target required by the federal government. Investigators are still unsure if the records were deliberately falsified to ameliorate the clinic’s performance.

“Sen. Michael Bennet needs to put his vote where his mouth is, he must put his talk into action, and help end this violence against veterans,” said Jonathan Lockwood, executive director of the nonpartisan Advancing Colorado, a Colorado-based nonprofit. “He needs to do what is necessary to protect our veterans from denial of care and the perpetual abuse of this system.”

Of 450 appointments over a one-year span, the VA inspector general found in 59 cases that clinic employees wrongly reported veterans received appointments within 30 days even though it took much longer, even reaching 77 days.

Additionally, 288 veterans, or 64 percent of the cases checked, had to wait longer than 30 days. The average wait time for the 288 cases was 66 or 68 days, depending on the care needed.

In response to the latest episode of violence against veterans, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., who does not support the VA Accountability Act, claimed he wants to “continue to demand accountability at the VA.”

“The politicians who are choosing to protect bureaucrats instead of veterans, have blood on their hands for allowing this pattern of misconduct and abuse to continue. Coloradans want to see the hammer of justice crash hard against the corrupt VA and they want to see our veterans very well taken care of,” added Lockwood.

The VA Accountability Act must still pass the Senate and be signed by the president before becoming law. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill.

Last summer, the House of Representatives passed with bipartisan votes, 256-170, the VA Accountability Act of 2015. The bill will give the VA Secretary the ability to fire VA employees who are found to be incompetent, or who are found to have engaged in mismanagement or misconduct. The measure also protects whistleblowers.

During final passage of the House bill, Colorado Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter and Jared Polis voted “NO” on the VA Accountability Act, while the rest of the Colorado delegation voted “YES.”