Biden on VA: 'We're behind right now'

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Vice President Biden said the United States is "behind right now" in caring for its veterans during a Monday speech to a group of cyclists that included many injured veterans.


Calling veterans the "spine" of America, he said the only real sacred U.S. obligation is equipping U.S. soldiers and caring for them when they return from war.

"We're behind right now," Biden said. "The VA is having problems. And we got to get to the bottom of it. And it is true, we have vastly expanded the eligibility of the VA going all the way back to my generation of Vietnam veterans and Agent Orange. But that is not a reason for any misrepresentation along the line."

Biden was speaking at the Ride 2 Recovery Memorial Challenge, a 350-mile bike ride from Washington to Virginia Beach that includes injured veterans.

The inspector general for the Department of Veterans Affairs is investigating at least 26 facilities around the country after accusations of delayed care and fraudulent reporting on wait times.

Reports last month suggested nearly 40 veterans died while on a secret wait list at a Phoenix VA clinic, though it is not clear if the deaths were a result of the long wait time. Since then, allegations of similar mismanagement have surfaced around the country.

President Obama, speaking at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday, said the United States must do more to "to keep faith with our veterans and their families, and ensure they get the care and benefits and opportunities that they’ve earned and that they deserve."