Was the president's promise to the VA the first of many lies to come when he said this in a speech to the Veterans Affairs in March 2009:
I know there's much work ahead to transform this agency for the 21st century. But I have the fullest confidence that with Secretary Shinseki's leadership, and with the hard work of the men and women of this department, we will fulfill our sacred trust and serve our returning heroes as well as they've served us.
The truth is, even he admitted that he wasn't able to keep the promises he outlined in that speech, especially on reducing the backlog and slashing wait times. From The Hill in Aug 2013, in a speech to the Disabled Veterans:
"The last time I was with you, I pledged to cut the backlog, slash those wait times, deliver your benefits sooner," Obama said. "And I’m going to be honest with you, it has not moved as fast as I wanted.
"Part of it is all these new veterans in the system who came in — Agent Orange, PTSD. It means a lot more claims, and despite additional resources, it’s resulted in longer waits. And that’s been unacceptable — unacceptable to me, unacceptable to [Department of Veterans Affairs] Secretary [Eric] Shinseki."
That article from The Hill was titled, "Obama to disabled vets: ‘No one’s taking away your benefits’. It was recap of a speech he gave to disabled veterans just a few days before in which he tried to assure vets that even with Obamacare, they would be just fine regardless of the supposed lies Republicans were spewing.
What's weird, is that he told the vets that they would have more choices with Obamacare and no one would take away their VA benefits...as if that was ever in question? I'm no expert on VA benefits but aren't all vets entitled to them?
“The good news is, if you’re among one of the more than 1 million veterans who don’t have health insurance, starting Oct. 1, you’ll have a new option," Obama said during a speech at the Disabled American Veterans national convention in Orlando, Fla.
"Online marketplaces will let you shop and compare and buy private health insurance plans, just like you can go online to compare prices when you buy a TV, or airplane ticket or a car," he continued. "And because of the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against you or deny you coverage."
Obama warned the disabled veterans to not be swayed by Republican attacks on his signature healthcare law.
"Don’t let them fool you," he said. "No one is taking away your benefits. Your veterans’ healthcare is safe. We’re not reducing veterans’ access to healthcare, we’re expanding it. That’s the truth."
Beware the politician that states he is telling you the truth or uses absolutes. My lie detector spikes in those instances for good reason. But that was just the beginning of you can keep your VA benefits if you like them. Period.
Just two months after he gave that speech to disabled veterans boasting about Obamacare, Sec. of Veterans Affairs Shinseki tried to pull a fast one on those they claim to hold in honor by posting a rule on the federal registry in the dark of night so to speak, that would severely limit the number of claims the VA would process due to clerical mistakes. On Oct 31, 2013, this rule was slipped in when Congress wasn't in session and seemingly defied a previous court order on the exact same matter.
What was the rule? If a vet didn't use the new form or file electronically, their claim would be null and void. Yet this defied a court order that stated the VA could not deny a claim if a form was filled out incorrectly. Yes, this is what this admin did to deflect blame for a growing backlog and now we know, falsify wait times resulting in unnecessary deaths. From FreedomOutpost.com, "Obama Administration Violates another Court Order and More Veterans will Die":
In Harris v. Shinseki, a Circuit Court ruled the VA must follow established Veterans Administration policy and cannot unfairly deny or terminate a veteran's right to due process in disability claims adjudication or appeal by claiming a veteran did not fill out the proper claims form.
Hidden, yet recently discovered in the federal registry is a new Department of Veterans Affairs policy directive dated October 31, 2013 (38 CFR Parts 3, 19 and 20 Standards Claims and Appeals Forms). Although the policies stated objective claims "to improve the quality and timeliness of processing of veteran's claims", nothing could be further from the truth.
The Obama Administration---finally fed up with being blamed for its failure to reduce record veteran disability claims backlogs and obscene rates of veteran homelessness and suicides---is arrogantly pursuing the violation of a 2013 court order protecting veterans and once again violating rights to due process.
So what is the connection to the VA, Obamacare, Immigration and infrastructure spending that he touts constantly? They all have huge problems, are intertwined when it comes to budgets and can't be solved by this inept admin with speeches. It's a domino effect of massive corruption, lies and cover-ups.
The president was aware of the VA problem when he took office, yet decided to force feed America another government "healthcare" program instead of focusing on our veterans first. Fixing the VA was and is a lofty task and needed all healthcare dollars and resources focused on it, rather than creating a new monster for those that didn't risk their life for this country.
He was so embarrassed by the Obamacare website rollout, that he finally focused on fixing it and it got done (sort of). Meanwhile, VA facilities were cooking the books on wait times and now that we know, he is silent on the issue. Just like he had faith in Sebelius until he fired her, he still has faith in Shinseki until he doesn't need him as a scapegoat.
Many congressmen wondered outloud in yesterday's hearing, if the new VA hospital slated for construction in their city or state would ever get built. This is where any new infrastructure funds should be directed immediately. Mr. pothole president could actually get something done in the way of construction and jobs if he focused on the VA's needs and cut through the red tape for our soldiers in need.
And finally, where does immigration fit into this puzzle? The cost of entitlement benefits for millions of new citizens, if they are given amnesty, will necessarily steal away funds that are needed for our veterans. That is an unconscionable position for our country to take now, knowing that veterans are suffering under the current bureaucracy.
The next time anyone brings up immigration reform, I challenge all Republicans to ask the president, all the Democrats, the so-called DREAMERs and all the La Raza type groups: Who deserves our resources and commitments more right now: the veterans who made our country great or those that chose to come here illegally to benefit from the sacrifices of our brave soldiers?
Case closed on any comprehensive immigration reform for now and until all veterans get the benefits they are owed. If you make a sacred promise, keep it. Period.