Committee grills VA Secretary on agency’s budget concerns

Robert McDonald, secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), testified before the House Veterans Affairs Committee, including U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN), about its $2.5 billion budget shortfall on Monday.

“It wasn’t too long ago that veterans were dying because of intolerable acts that exposed what was happening in the VA,” Walorski said to McDonald. “Yet today, we still have instances of offenses against whistleblowers and information technology issues that the American people just shake their heads at; and those issues are costing billions of dollars. It’s shocking money.”

Earlier this summer, the VA warned that it would be forced to shut down hospitals in August if Congress does not address the massive budget shortfall and lack of funds.

The VA’s request has been met with some bipartisan push-back, as many lawmakers have blamed VA officials for continuing to miss the mark on funding their budget.

“I’m asking for a guarantee for somebody, some place to be able to stand up and say never again on my watch, never again will we tolerate what’s happened,” Walorski said. “I want a guarantee going forward that this will stop.”