When we send our American citizens to war, we make a promise to protect them and a commitment to support them when they return home from their service. Memorial Day serves as an important tribute to the gratitude we owe those who give their lives to protect our freedoms.
But it’s also a reminder of the gratitude we owe to those who return home. Our veterans deserve all the support we can provide, which makes the recent reports of complete mismanagement at the Department of Veterans Administration all the more infuriating.
There have been widespread reports that veterans across the country are forced to wait for necessary, sometimes life-saving care due to the management failure of the Obama administration. And these problems aren’t about a lack of funding – VA funding levels have increased by 60 percent since 2009. As more reports arise, it’s becoming clearer that these problems are systematic throughout the VA and the Administration.
The Obama administration must lead, and the VA must lead. But while the Obama administration needs to take responsibility for ending this management crisis, there is progress we can make in Congress.
I’ve been pushing for months to authorize twenty-seven VA clinics across the country, including two in Louisiana. These clinics have been stalled due to – what else? – bureaucratic errors at the VA. If not for these errors, the clinics would already be built.
While getting these clinics built won’t solve every problem in the VA, it will do something substantial. So I’m fighting to do just that. I’ve gone to the Senate floor for two months to push for these clinics, but I’ve been blocked by Senate Democrats each time. Now I’m pushing the White House to get these clinics built, and I’m going to continue to fight for these clinics.
We’ll never forget our heroes who never made it home. Now we must never fail our heroes who returned.
David Vitter is a U.S. Senator for the state of Louisiana