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October 31, 2014

Vietnam Veterans Group Joins Outrage Over Burr’s VA Letter

vietnam 04 110707 445x308 Vietnam Veterans Group Joins Outrage Over Burrs VA Letter

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A group representing veterans from the Vietnam War has joined several other organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, in blasting Sen. Richard M. Burr’s recent open letter to veterans.

In a missive sent Tuesday afternoon to the ranking Republican on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, the leadership of Vietnam Veterans of America “write to express our astonishment at your insulting remarks about the testimony and staff.”

“Your ugly comments and false accusations about VSOs and their staff will not resolve any of the VA’s problems. VVA believes it is not the time, at this crucial juncture, for throwing stones or issuing caustic statements. It is a time when we must be uniting forces with a strong resolve, entering into direct and continuing dialog to address the issues that stand before us now,” the newest letter said. “This is our inherent mission … our responsibility … our duty.”

The organization also chides Burr for departing from the May 15 hearing with various veterans service organizations before everyone had testified.

“Having left the hearing early, thereby missing the testimony delivered by the last two panels at the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on May 15, 2014, you may wish to review the actual delivered testimony and submitted written testimony by VVA and our colleagues,” the VVA said in its letter, which was signed by National President John Rowan, National Vice President Marsha Four and National Committee on Policy and Government Affairs Chairman Felix Peterson.

Burr had responded to earlier letters from veterans’ service organizations in a Sunday statement to CQ Roll Call,saying, ”It’s clear that my open letter to America’s veterans has outraged some VSOs more than the scandals at VA.”

Text of the letter appears below:

Dear Senator Burr:

On behalf of the membership of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), we write to express our astonishment at your insulting remarks about the testimony and staff of VSOs in your May 23 “Open Letter to America’s Veterans.” Clearly you were neither present, nor listening when you were present, to our testimony and that of our colleagues, none of whom defended “the status quo within the VA,” or spoke to “protecting our relationships within the agency and securing access to the Secretary and his inner circle.”

And similarly, for you to state that VSO executive staff “ignored the constant VA problems expressed by their members and is more interested in their own livelihoods and Washington connections…,” is blatantly false and, in reality, is perhaps more reflective of your lack of knowledge of the character, integrity, and honor of these fine people who serve their membership. The VVA staff is known for their candor and bluntness when discussing problems with health care and other vitally needed veteran services, either with VA officials or with Members or Senators in the Congress.

Every annual testimony that VVA has delivered since 1999 has stressed the need for much greater accountability for how the funds are spent by VA. In the last few years we have very bluntly testified that the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is hiring way too many chiefs who deliver no direct patient care, and not hiring more direct service providers, which we believe was the Congressional intent of the significant increases in funding between FY 2007 through FY 2010.

As we did for the 112th Congress and for the current 113th Congress, VVA will continue to press for the delivery of timely, quality medical care for veterans at Veterans Health Administration facilities across the country. This includes timely access, proper use of clinical resources in the provision of medical services and care, as well as administrative reforms where necessary, to eliminate barriers in the delivery of quality health care.

Your letter of May 23 and its tone do absolutely nothing to serve the health-care interests of America’s veterans. Your ugly comments and false accusations about VSOs and their staff will not resolve any of the VA’s problems. VVA believes it is not the time, at this crucial juncture, for throwing stones or issuing caustic statements. It is a time when we must be uniting forces with a strong resolve, entering into direct and continuing dialog to address the issues that stand before us now. This is our inherent mission… our responsibility… our duty.

Having left the hearing early, thereby missing the testimony delivered by the last two panels at the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on May 15, 2014, you may wish to review the actual delivered testimony and submitted written testimony by VVA and our colleagues. For your convenience, the link to review the tape of that hearing can be found at:

http://www.veterans.senate.gov/hearings/the-state-of-va-health-care-051514

As we move forward, you may wish to thoughtfully consider the recommendations and suggestions found therein. As always, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) stands ready to work with any elected or appointed official who is interested in improving access to clinical care at the VA, as well as improving the quality of said care.

 

  • Jazzy

    Why are the Isla Vista murders getting more publicity than the Obama administrations EUC and VA scandal? Any journalist will tell ya, Santa Barbara is darn nice this time of year. Why don’t we hear more on the CIA blown cover? If you were a journalist, would you want to go back to Afghanistan?

  • Joshua Sniegowski

    All these VSO’s (with the exception of the American Legion) are now “outraged” at being called out. However, where was this outrage AT THE VA? The National staffs of these VSO’s are more concerned with protecting their comfy relationship with the VA that they are scared to make any waves. They are more concerned with the VA’s opinion of them than the good of their own membership. They would make far better VA employees than supposed veteran’s advocates.

    • Jack Kelly

      What an ignorant assessment of the article and letter. I personally belong to the Vietnam Veterans of America, the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Disabled American Veterans. I also have used the VA with great success for many years.

      The only organization I would never join is the America Legion, as it is nothing but old white drunks who have no respect for Veterans. In 2010 the American Legion endorsed Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth’s campaign in favor of a Republican who NEVER served his country for one day. That’s right a double amputee combat veteran whose husband and brother also served in Iraq and Afghanistan and whose father is buried in Arlington National Cemetery NOT QUALIFIED but the chicken hawk republican is.

      The Legion is a joke.

      • Joshua Sniegowski

        Jack, Your ignorance must be bliss. I to am a member of MULTIPLE VSO’s. The VSO’s on the local and State levels are wonderful things. I worked for DAV as a National Service Officer for 8 years. I currently work as the Director of Veterans Services for my county. I have also worked with a State Veterans Agency. I know FIRST HAND how National VSO’s work. I have been to the testimony of the National HQ staffs. I know National HQ staff members personally. Until you gain the knowledge you need to counter my assessments, you are speaking from shear ignorance.
        As far as Tammy Duckworth goes…only a fool would vote for her. So what that she is a disabled veteran? Guess what? There are stupid veterans too. The fact that one is a veteran does not qualify them for sainthood and grant supreme knowledge upon them…Look at John Kerry. Duckworth worked for the IL Dept. of Veterans Affairs…she failed miserably at that post. She than later worked for the federal VA as a PR fluff. She lied to her fellow veterans on a routine basis. That was her job…and she had no problem doing it. She was part of the problem in the VA Central Office…and you want to admire the woman’s performance in public service???? It once again shows how little you know on the subject.

        • Jack Kelly

          Good for you, I don’t claim to be blissful however I stand by my point that the American Legion is lousy and worthless.

          You on the other hand are merely a right wing hack and most likely a tea bagger and living proof that there are stupid veterans.

          • Joshua Sniegowski

            Wow…that I your come back? No facts, just throwing out some insults? It shows the weakness of your argument. It is very typical of the left. Show me some facts…some proof. I am not only a wartime disabled veteran, I work this stuff as my career. I don’t just read an occasional article or base my opinion off a bumper sticker as is so common with left wing individuals. Unless you can back your opinion up with something, you show that you have NOTHING.

          • Jack Kelly

            Really, I’m a medically retired Special Operations Pilot and Pentagon staffer, I saw more combat than many and great acts of heroism.

            When the American Legion picked a chicken hawk republican over Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth a Combat hero, double amputee, who still wears the uniform as does her husband and brother, her father is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

            I emailed and spoke on the phone with the American Legion leadership and they told me that the refused to endorse Duckworth because she did not ask them directly but the chicken hawk did.

            There are all the facts I need. OH and I love your capitalization emphasis as I might have missed it otherwise.

  • denner OP4444

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  • radsenior

    When a non-military senator or representative acts and makes decisions as North Carolina’s Burr, he brings total discredit to himself and all Americans. Where is the veteran outrage that a non-veteran like Senator Richard Burr should have any audience or command veterans over spending and benefits due them? As a veteran, I call every veteran to call, write, e-mail and confront this no-good at every turn! It is the squeaky wheel that gets greased. The title here is Veterans United Network and that should cross party lines. We have an all-volunteer military and it rankles me that any non-military member of Congress can have the audacity to turn his back on us!
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/28/rachel-maddow-richard-burr-veterans_n_5404131.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013&ir=Politics

  • Jack Kelly

    You are not worth my time. Go back under your right wing rock.

    • Joshua Sniegowski

      I not surprised. When confronted by truth, libs usually run away.

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