Shinseki battles for homeless vets

When President Obama on Friday announced that Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan would become director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), he credited Donovan with lowering the number of homeless vets by more than 20 percent. No doubt Donovan played an important role, but the driving force of the program, and a person who deserves great credit, is Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. Shinseki has made homeless veterans a major priority and put his heart and soul into the effort and has made a huge contribution in lowering the number of homeless vets. To not give him credit on Friday was a very Obama thing to do.

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In my column this week, I offered ideas at great length about the VA scandal. I made it a point in this column to not call for Shinseki to be fired. And whatever Shinseki's fate at Veterans Affairs, I believe he deserves great credit for things he has accomplished, such as lowering the number of homeless veterans. Obama did not give him that credit. He should have.

I will be spending this weekend with the Rolling Thunder vets at the National Mall in Washington, as I always do. I encourage readers in the D.C. area to visit the rally, and if you do, perhaps we will meet.

In the meantime, I wish everyone a happy Memorial Day, with the hope that by next Memorial Day we can get the number of homeless vets to where it should be — zero — and work together to solve the problems at the VA that should have been solved long ago.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at brentbbi@webtv.net.

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