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Coburn to expose VA 'incompetency'

Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnConservative group escalates earmarks war by infiltrating trainings Democrats step up hardball tactics in Supreme Court fight COVID response shows a way forward on private gun sale checks MORE (R-Okla.) announced Saturday that he will release an oversight report next week exposing shortcomings at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Coburn’s forthcoming report will expose “a culture within the VA where vets are not always a priority and in which administrators manipulate both data and employees,” he said during the weekly Republican address. It is expected to expose millions of mismanaged dollars, over-budget construction projects, inadequate medical supplies and absent employees, including doctors.

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The announcement comes after allegations of falsified records hiding treatment delays within VA facilities outraged the nation, leading to Eric Shinseki's resignation as head of the department.

During his address, Coburn pressured Congress and President Obama to increase oversight of the VA.

He called on Obama to nominate a capable replacement for Shinseki  and “to use the tools he already has to clean up the systemic failures of management in his Administration.”

The Oklahoma lawmaker also pointed to congressional committees that “failed to hold the VA accountable.”

“It screams of government incompetency,” Coburn said.

“It is unacceptable that the men and women who bravely fought for our freedom are losing their lives, not at the hands of terrorists or enemy combatants, but from neglect by the very government agency established to take care of them.”

Coburn pointed to government investigations that underscored the VA’s shortcomings, but “some in Congress have been far more preoccupied with making new promises rather than fulfilling the promises already made,” he said. 

While both chambers have recently passed bills to create more options for veterans seeking healthcare and more accountability for VA healthcare providers, Coburn called the bills and the leadership change at the VA “just the first steps.” 

“Congress cannot just hope the problems will now go away,” he said.