veterans-affairs

Budget Scuffle Stalls ‘Blue Water’ Benefits for Vietnam Vets
Science, costs concern for GOP holdouts; Dems yell hypocrisy

Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson remains bullish the Senate can pass the measure to make more Vietnam era veterans eligible for treatment for exposure to Agent Orange. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators and veterans groups are working to convince a few last holdouts to stop blocking a quick floor vote on a bill to extend benefits for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

Advocates are lobbying President Donald Trump to sign the bill if the Senate clears it. But Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah has questions about whether science backs up the policy. And Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi of Wyoming is concerned about its nearly $2.2 billion cost over a decade.

Ruppersberger Has Questions About ‘Botched’ Walter Reed Active Shooter Alarm
‘Somebody messed up’ says Maryland rep who sheltered in place while being treated at medical center

Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., a member of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee, was being treated at the Walter Reed military medical center in suburban D.C. when an alarm falsely warned of the presence of an active shooter, which Navy officials later said was a drill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A mass alert warning Walter Reed National Military Medical Center about the presence of an active shooter on campus was an error, the U.S. Navy assured the public Tuesday afternoon.

But not before the alert — which the Navy said did not include the words “exercise” or “drill”— sent patients sheltering in back rooms to make tearful calls to loved ones and put security personnel and police on high alert.

Awkward Moments from Donald Trump's Veterans Day Do-Over
VA secretary managed to out-Trump embellishment-prone Trump

President Donald Trump talks to Chairman, President and CEO of Lockheed Martin Marillyn Hewson (right) and Director and Chief Test Pilot Alan Norman in front of a highly visible F-35 fighter jet during the "2018 Made in America Product Showcase" in July at the White House in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | President Donald Trump got around Thursday to commemorating Veterans Day on American soil, four days after the actual holiday and after as many days holed up in and lashing out from the White House.

Trump did speak Sunday at a rain-soaked Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial in France, where U.S. soldiers who died in World War I are buried, and he visited graves there. But he canceled a Saturday visit to the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial because of bad weather, later blaming the Secret Service.

Trump Ties Sinema to Schumer Even Though She Says She Won’t Support Him
Sinema and McSally face off in Toss-up Arizona Senate race for Flake’s seat

President Donald Trump arrives with Arizona Republican Senate nominee Martha McSally for a rally in Mesa, Ariz., on Friday. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump, rallying in Arizona on behalf of Republican Senate candidate Martha McSally, sought to tie her Democratic opponent Kyrsten Sinema, to Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer even though Sinema said she won’t support him.

A vote for Sinema is “dangerous” because “it’s for Schumer, crying Chuck,” Trump told rallygoers Friday night at an airport hangar in Mesa. 

Veteran Who Threatened Rep. Frank LoBiondo, Staff Is Convicted
Defendant was unhappy with VA care

Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., leaves the House Republican Conference meeting at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington in 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A veteran with post traumatic stress disorder was convicted in federal court Wednesday on two counts of making threats to New Jersey Rep. Frank LoBiondo and his staffers, according to the Department of Justice.

Over the spring and summer of 2017, Joseph Brodie, 39, of Millville, New Jersey, sought assistance from LoBiondo’s office in receiving care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Exchange Programs Aren’t Just for High Schoolers. Congressmen Do It Too
Nebraska and California congressmen trade views of their districts

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., left, visited Rep. Salud Carbajal, D-Calif., in his district in August. (Courtesy office of Rep. Salud Carbajal)

Say “exchange program,” and most people think of traveling teens.

That was true for Rep. Don Bacon, whose family hosted a German exchange student when he was 16. Mostly, the pair geeked out over American cars.

Tsongas and Turner Want VA to Answer for Sexual Assault Survivors Report
Internal watchdog report says roughly half of all benefit claims were incorrectly processed

Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., and Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, sent a letter criticizing the Veterans Benefits Administration after an inspector general’s report revealed mishandling of sexual assault cases. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The bipartisan co-chairs of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus want the Veterans Benefits Administration to answer for a recent report showing negligence.

A report released last week from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Inspector General found the VBA incorrectly processed 1,300 of 2,700 benefit claims related to sexual assault between April and September 2017.

Veterans Affairs Watchdog Finds Significant Problems in VA Caregiver Program
Report comes as caregiver program is set to expand

Senate Veterans Affairs ranking member Jon Tester, D-Mont.., said the inspector general report highlights the fact that the VA needs to get its act together on the caregiver program. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Family caregivers seeking help from the Department of Veterans Affairs encountered extended wait times and spotty aid from the agency, according to a new report from the VA’s Office of Inspector General.

The OIG investigation found that 65 percent of the more than 1,800 applicants between January and September 2017 were forced to wait longer than the required 45-day timeframe to be approved for the program. Fifty-five percent of the applicants waited between three and six months for approval, while 14 percent waited even longer, according to thereport released Thursday.

Trump Paris-Bound in November to Watch a Military Parade Instead
President blames city for postponing military parade he wanted in Washington

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron attend the traditional Bastille day military parade on the Champs-Elysees on July 14, 2017 in Paris (Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump plans to go to Paris in November to celebrate the Armistice Day, rather than hosting his own military parade in Washington, D.C.

Trump tweeted that he would also, “attend the big parade already scheduled at Andrews Air Force Base on a different date.”

America’s Largest Veterans Group Rains on Trump’s Parade
Trump appears to put blame for higher estimate on D.C. officials who ‘know a windfall when they see one’

President Donald Trump viewed a traditional Bastille Day military parade in Paris — and apparently liked what he saw. (Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images file photo)

Opponents to President Donald Trump’s plans for a costly military parade in Washington now include the American Legion, the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization.

“The American Legion appreciates that our President wants to show in a dramatic fashion our nation’s support for our troops,” American Legion National Commander Denise Rohan said in a statement Thursday night. “However, until such time as we can celebrate victory in the War on Terrorism and bring our military home, we think the parade money would be better spent fully funding the Department of Veteran Affairs and giving our troops and their families the best care possible.”