Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 31, 2015

Obama Wants Congressional Help on VA Whistleblower Overload, Afghan Translator Visas

FORT BELVOIR, VA - Obama participates in a signing ceremony for veterans legislation Aug. 7 joined by VA Secretary Robert McDonald and lawmakers. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

FORT BELVOIR, VA – Obama participates in a signing ceremony for veterans legislation Aug. 7, joined by VA Secretary Robert McDonald and lawmakers. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Obama administration is out with its request Friday for some specific needs it wants Congress to address next week in a continuing resolution that would keep the government funded through early December, since no annual spending bills have been enacted. And there are a couple of national security items on the list.

Among them: help for dealing with an overload of whistleblowers at the Veterans Affairs Department related to mismanagement there, and a boost to the number of special visas for Afghanistan translators.

Tamar Hallerman (with an assist from yours truly) has the full story for CQ subscribers, which encompasses the entire administration request, and includes some provisions related to Ebola, the Export-Import Bank and the border crisis. Her story also touches on the timing of when Congress might act.

From the story:

The list includes a request to boost the number of visas for Afghanistan civilians who served as translators or otherwise helped the United States during the war. The State Department is on pace to exceed the current cap of 4,000 special visas by Sept. 30 for bringing those Afghan civilians over to the United States, according to the administration, so the request is for another 1,230 through the end of the calendar year, with the option to roll them over past Dec. 31.

Without the language, “Afghan nationals that meet the criteria” for special visas “will see work on their cases suspended, potentially jeopardizing their and their family members’ lives,” the document states.

And:

Because the Veterans Affairs Department, under fire for a health care backlog scandal, is wrestling with an influx of whistleblowers over VA mismanagement, it needs to dedicate $22.9 million for the Office of Special Counsel, according to the administration.

Unless it gets the language for the casework increase, “OSC would be unable to address its regular open casework, and address the incoming VA-related cases, which would provide whistleblowers with appropriate and timely relief.”

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  1. Metatron von Bardeleben

    Sept. 5, 2014
    8:23 p.m.

    So
    since I commenced my postings about the VA – I have been banned from
    posting on the VA FB and Twitter Sites, received a phone call from
    010-xxxx threatening me with two felony warrants, and received a bill
    from the San Diego VA – to which I have not been in years – and, which
    took payments that paid all off previously from my income tax returns,
    now the VA has the Treasury Department withhold from my regular Social
    Security Disability payment – I called treasury and they said call the
    specific VA in San Diego to find out about this. I would owe nothing had
    the VA awarded the benefits to me some years even decades ago. Am I
    really such a threat through my postings to this corrupt bureaucracy.

  2. Metatron von Bardeleben

    Sept. 5, 2014
    8:23 p.m.

    Here
    is the tactic used in my case – Army identifies two conditions in my
    medical record that are potentially disabling – one covered and one not.
    I claim the covered condition- let us say condition A not condition B.
    In my Army medical records – condition A is said to be “early stage” –
    I take 4 anti-epileptic medications for this condition and get these
    from the VA. The Army never let me know
    about the condition at the time of discharge. But I am soon treated
    for the condition after service. So, as I was saying, I claim covered
    condition A, I get regular SSA Disability for the condition, The VA
    sends me to an examiner who says yes he has the claimed condition. But
    then the VA doesn’t like this so turns around and asks the STRAWMAN
    question to the examiner without providing the information to the
    examiner that condition A had been commented on in my Army Medical
    Records – the Strawman Question – VA asks examiner – Can covered
    condition A come from non-covered condition B? The examiner answers no.
    Then the VA simply ignores the evidence in the Army Medical Records
    about condition A. And, sidesteps the examiner’s conclusion that yes he
    has the covered condition.

  3. Guest

    Sept. 5, 2014
    8:29 p.m.

    Certainly, the 4 anti-epileptic medications that they have prescribed me for the condition which is first mentioned in my Army Medical Records, about which they did not tell me, and which they deny – have had a devastating effect on my health and intellect. These medicines are very nasty – cause cognitive problems, severe daibetes, thyroid problems and cross the blood brain barrier. These VA Bureaucratic, in my opinion – criminal, VA employees in the claims process should be ashamed of themselves. But as there is no accountability, what do they care. They, after all are getting pay and benefits. Futhermore, they caused me great personal and finacial devastation by not informing me of the condition and putting me on the benefits list at the time of discharge. This is fraud. I am sure that I am not alone.

  4. Guest

    Sept. 5, 2014
    8:30 p.m.

    Certainly, the 4 anti-epileptic medications that they have prescribed me
    for the condition which is first mentioned in my Army Medical Records,
    about which they did not tell me, and which they deny – have had a
    devastating effect on my health and intellect. These medicines are very
    nasty – cause cognitive problems, severe daibetes, thyroid problems and
    cross the blood brain barrier. These VA Bureaucratic, in my opinion –
    criminal, VA employees in the claims process should be ashamed of
    themselves. But as there is no accountability, what do they care.
    They, after all are getting pay and benefits. Furthermore, they caused
    me great personal and financial devastation by not informing me of the
    condition and putting me on the benefits list at the time of discharge.
    This is fraud. I am sure that I am not alone.

  5. Metatron von Bardeleben

    Sept. 5, 2014
    8:32 p.m.

    Certainly, the 4 anti-epileptic medications that they have prescribed me
    for the condition which is first mentioned in my Army Medical Records,
    about which they did not tell me, and which they deny – have had a
    devastating effect on my health and intellect. These medicines are very
    nasty – cause cognitive problems, severe diabetes, thyroid problems and
    cross the blood brain barrier. These VA Bureaucratic, in my opinion –
    criminal, VA employees in the claims process should be ashamed of
    themselves. But as there is no accountability, what do they care.
    They, after all are getting pay and benefits. Furthermore, they caused
    me great personal and financial devastation by not informing me of the
    condition and putting me on the benefits list at the time of discharge.
    This is fraud. I am sure that I am not alone.

  6. Cade Yaeger

    Sept. 7, 2014
    10:44 p.m.

    Obama seems very delusional these days.

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