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The Veterans Administration are getting bonuses in the tune of 3.8 million dollars, while soldiers are still waiting for payments.
Freshman Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL), who serves on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, last week called for the resignation of VA Secretary Jim Nicholson. Hare and others are steaming over the latest reports that $3.8 million in bonuses were given to senior officials at the embattled Veterans Administration in 2006. Among those given bonuses—as much as $33,000 each—were regional directors who wrote the VA's faulty 2005 budget, which government investigators have concluded was laden with misleading accounting that included claiming for false savings of $1.3 billion. On Friday, Rep. John Hall, Democrat of New York, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance, said he was introducing legislation that would freeze all future bonus payments to VA officials until the department cuts the backlog of veteran claims from the current number, between 400,000 and 600,000, to under 100,000.
The VA is saying that these kinds of payments are simply necessary to retain hard-working, quality career officials.
Rep. Hare said; "There are veterans out there with outstanding disability claims who are reading about these bonuses and concluding that the government really doesn’t care about them, or their service or their families. This is a very poor message to send to the nation. We’ve really had to push this administration, which is so quick to put our men and women in harm’s way but so reluctant to assist them once they return."
"There are many homeless veterans out there, as well, and I can only imagine how many of them we could feed for $3.8 million. Secretary Nicholson comes before our committee and paints a rosy picture to the veterans and consistently praises this administration’s VA budget, even while he calls for a $2 million cut in the prosthetics budget. And, at the same time, he gives out bonuses to VA officials that amounts to nearly twice that amount."
"This guy [Nicholson] is the former head of the Republican National Committee. I don’t care if you’re a Democrat or Republican or Independent or Libertarian, as head of the VA you should answer to the veterans first. This is just another example of this administration politicizing every department of the government."
Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Texas, said the House has sent Bush a $64.7 billion spending bill to fund Veterans Affairs. That includes a $6 billion increase for veterans' health care, $3.8 billion more than Bush had requested, Edwards said.
"For weeks, the White House budget office threatened to veto this bill, because it was above their request," Edwards said in the Democrats' weekly radio address. "Fortunately, the president finally backed down on his threat to this historic veterans' bill, but only after it was clear that Congress would override a veto."
Fascist regimes make constant use of patriotic slogans, such as "if you are not for us, you are against us." Well just whom in Bush's Administration acts as if they are for us?
They take advantage of our Vets, while they pay themselves nice sums of money in a nice peaceful working environment.
What say you?