Cumberland Times-News

Editorials

February 10, 2014

Had enough

Congress ready to clamp down on VA

There is something wrong — if not audacious — when Congress makes as many as 100 requests for Veterans Administration information but is ignored.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, more than 100 congressional requests for information, some more than a year old, have gone unanswered by the agency that cares for 8.75 million veterans.

Much of the discontent expressed by members of Congress — both Democrat and Republican — centers on whether the VA is taking responsibility for errors and whether it should continue to reward its leadership with bonuses despite poor performance.

The Journal said Congress is now poised to impose legislative penalties on the VA. Last week the House approved a bill to impose a five-year ban on bonuses for senior VA executives. The Senate also is considering such a penalty, although now as harsh as the five-year ban. Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) says he plans to introduce legislation making it easier to fire or demote hospital directors and other executives whose performance falls short.

Maryland’s two senators recently took up their own grievance with the VA, complaining that since 2011 they have pressed the VA to put into place a plan to deal with backlog and quality issues at the VA’s Baltimore Regional Office. The Government Accountability Office said 84 percent of claims at the Baltimore office exceed 125 days, with an average wait of almost one year. In a letter to Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, the two senators said the delays are inexcusable.

In their defense, VA officials say  they have answered more than 85,000 information requests in the past four years, including letters, demands for congressional testimony and questions for the record. They say the agency has spent less on bonuses than allowed by law.

We can only imagine that the 85,000 information requests are a reflection on the overall lack of quality service by the VA. Rather than delaying and posturing, the agency needs to do an overall revamping to fix the many concerns being raised by Congress.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • We concur We concur

    We’re certain that Donald Rumsfeld, who served as Secretary of Defense under Presidents Gerald Ford and George W. Bush, echoes what many Americans feel about the complexity of filing income tax returns.
    When he filed his return, Rumsfeld sent the following letter to the Internal Revenue Service:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library week

    Public libraries remain one of the best uses of taxpayer dollars. They are open to all. Young or old, poor or wealthy, residents can use computers and read current magazines and newspapers. Compact discs featuring a wide variety of music and
    movies on DVD may be checked out in addition to novels and other books.

    April 13, 2014

  • Sunday hunting Sunday hunting

    Legislation that increases hunting oppportunities on Sundays in Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties has passed the Maryland General Assembly and reached the governor’s desk.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • One cannot compromise on God’s word

    A recent letter asked, “What is it about compromises that seem so undesirable?” Most of us are familiar with John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The next verse goes on to say, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”

    April 13, 2014

  • Ballpark project a partnership, not a government handout

    To the Editor:
    Regarding Mark Nelson’s recent objection to county government assistance to exploring the placement of a minor league baseball team in the Cumberland region, I would answer that the project should be considered a partnership between private enterprise and government. The private support would come by way of donations collected from local citizens, currently banked through the Dapper Dan Club.

    April 13, 2014

  • Editorial Cartoon Editorial Cartoon

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Decriminalizing marijuana lines pockets of drug cartel

    Has the Maryland government decided they like contributing to the drug cartel? Their new decriminalization of marijuana does nothing but line the pockets of the cartel.

    April 11, 2014

  • Speed cameras Speed cameras

    We’ve never been big fans of speed cameras, primarily for two reasons. First, because the cameras are not always accurate, and secondly because many jurisdictions seem to create revenue by installing cameras and issuing high numbers of speeding tickets.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo