Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 5, 2015

Vietnam Veterans Group Joins Outrage Over Burr’s VA Letter

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(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:

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.


Comments (49)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

author email

  1. Jazzy

    May 28, 2014
    1:56 a.m.

    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?

  2. Joshua Sniegowski

    May 28, 2014
    11:57 a.m.

    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

      May 28, 2014
      7:56 p.m.

      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

        May 29, 2014
        12:18 p.m.

        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

          May 31, 2014
          7:41 p.m.

          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

            June 4, 2014
            11:59 a.m.

            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

            June 11, 2014
            1:58 a.m.

            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.

  3. denner OP4444

    May 28, 2014
    11:15 p.m.

    I have a really good recommendation of a website I just found called Traders Superstore, just do a search for them he should be able to find them. I recommend these guys because there course material is top-notch and their support is the best I’ve ever seen on the Internet. These guys take seriously teaching people how to trade and I’m very happy to recommend them to anyone interested in learning to trade for themselves, it really is a very lucrative business.

  4. radsenior

    May 29, 2014
    7:50 p.m.

    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!

  5. Jack Kelly

    June 12, 2014
    9:50 p.m.

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

    • Joshua Sniegowski

      June 13, 2014
      10:06 a.m.

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

  6. Anonymous

    June 27, 2015
    6:18 a.m.

    I’ve been surfing on-line greater than 3 hours these days, but I never discovered any attention-grabbing article like yours. It¦s beautiful worth sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you probably did, the internet will be much more helpful than ever before.

  7. Anonymous

    July 4, 2015
    10:36 a.m.

    In the great design of things you secure a B- just for hard work. Exactly where you lost everybody was first on your details. As as the maxim goes, the devil is in the details… And that could not be more true right here. Having said that, allow me reveal to you just what exactly did give good results. Your text is actually quite engaging and that is most likely the reason why I am taking the effort to comment. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Secondly, while I can easily notice a jumps in reasoning you make, I am not really sure of exactly how you seem to connect your points that produce your final result. For right now I will subscribe to your position but hope in the near future you link your dots better.

  8. Anonymous

    July 7, 2015
    9:09 a.m.

    I will right away clutch your rss as I can’t to find your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you have any? Please allow me understand so that I may subscribe. Thanks.

  9. Anonymous

    July 7, 2015
    11:07 p.m.

    naturally like your web site however you need to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very troublesome to tell the reality nevertheless I?¦ll certainly come again again.

  10. Anonymous

    July 9, 2015
    9:55 a.m.

    Some really wonderful articles on this web site, appreciate it for contribution.

  11. Anonymous

    July 21, 2015
    1:50 a.m.

    Your place is valueble for me. Thanks!…

  12. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    6:41 a.m.

    I was reading some of your articles on this website and I conceive this website is real informative ! Keep putting up.

  13. Anonymous

    July 24, 2015
    9:47 p.m.

    I’m still learning from you, but I’m making my way to the top as well. I absolutely liked reading all that is written on your blog.Keep the stories coming. I enjoyed it!

  14. Anonymous

    July 25, 2015
    6:24 p.m.

    As I web site possessor I believe the content matter here is rattling fantastic , appreciate it for your hard work. You should keep it up forever! Best of luck.

  15. Anonymous

    July 28, 2015
    7:12 a.m.

    I¦ve recently started a web site, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thanks for all of your time & work.

  16. Anonymous

    July 30, 2015
    8:47 p.m.

    Great line up. We will be linking to this great article on our site. Keep up the good writing.

  17. Anonymous

    Aug. 9, 2015
    6:11 p.m.

    I got what you intend, thankyou for posting.Woh I am happy to find this website through google. “Food is the most primitive form of comfort.” by Sheila Graham.

  18. Anonymous

    Aug. 12, 2015
    1:34 p.m.

    Simply wish to say your article is as astounding. The clearness in your publish is simply nice and i can suppose you are knowledgeable on this subject. Fine along with your permission allow me to seize your feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thank you 1,000,000 and please keep up the gratifying work.

  19. Anonymous

    Aug. 18, 2015
    12:14 a.m.

    Wow! Thank you! I continuously wanted to write on my blog something like that. Can I include a portion of your post to my site?

  20. Anonymous

    Aug. 25, 2015
    10:12 p.m.

    You should take part in a contest for the most effective blogs on the web. I’ll recommend this site!

  21. Anonymous

    Aug. 29, 2015
    7:07 p.m.

    I have not checked in here for some time because I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are great quality so I guess I will add you back to my everyday bloglist. You deserve it my friend :)

  22. Anonymous

    Sept. 2, 2015
    4:04 a.m.

    My brother suggested I might like this website. He was totally right. This post truly made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  23. Anonymous

    Sept. 2, 2015
    11:45 a.m.

    Hi there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I will certainly digg it and individually recommend to my friends. I am sure they will be benefited from this site.

  24. Anonymous

    Sept. 3, 2015
    2:03 a.m.

    This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

  25. Anonymous

    Sept. 3, 2015
    4:20 a.m.

    qw31fN Some really wonderful blog posts on this internet site , regards for contribution.

  26. Anonymous

    Sept. 7, 2015
    6:28 p.m.

    Well I truly liked studying it. This subject provided by you is very useful for correct planning.

  27. Anonymous

    Sept. 8, 2015
    6:01 a.m.

    I went over this website and I conceive you have a lot of excellent information, saved to favorites (:.

  28. tom si jerry romana

    Sept. 9, 2015
    4:10 p.m.

    I think this is a real great article post.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

  29. tom si jerry romana

    Sept. 9, 2015
    4:10 p.m.

    Really informative article. Fantastic.

  30. Anonymous

    Sept. 17, 2015
    3:11 a.m.

    Way cool, some valid points! I appreciate you making this article available, the rest of the site is also high quality. Have a fun.

  31. homeowners and auto insurance

    Sept. 20, 2015
    10:42 a.m.

    Save more with us and online auto insurance comparison. It takes only few minutes to get quotes and save on home or auto insurance policies.

  32. amica insurance customer service

    Sept. 22, 2015
    3:37 a.m.

    Try discounts up to 40% on auto or home insurance.

  33. amax auto insurance quote

    Sept. 22, 2015
    5:27 p.m.

    Get auto and home insurance policies

  34. Anonymous

    Sept. 22, 2015
    8:03 p.m.

    Hey there, I think your website might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog site in Firefox, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, fantastic blog!

  35. federated mutual

    Sept. 23, 2015
    7:10 a.m.

    Make you policy cheaper by getting free quotes from mutual home and auto insurance companies.

  36. Anonymous

    Sept. 23, 2015
    2:39 p.m.

    I reckon something genuinely special in this site.

  37. Anonymous

    Sept. 26, 2015
    5:02 p.m.

    Hey! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against hackers? I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any suggestions?

  38. Anonymous

    Sept. 27, 2015
    4:12 p.m.

    HuHW7M you might have a fantastic blog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my weblog?

  39. Anonymous

    Sept. 28, 2015
    8:09 a.m.

    gLMAgX This website definitely has all of the information I needed about this subject and didn at know who to ask.

  40. compare homeowners insuranc

    Sept. 28, 2015
    12:01 p.m.

    Save $520 annually on auto insurance policy here.

  41. commerce insurance company

    Sept. 29, 2015
    5:50 p.m.

    Compare quotes to save more on auto and home insurance here.

  42. acuity a mutual insurance company

    Oct. 1, 2015
    4:53 p.m.

    Best quotes in the USA on auto and home insurance. Get quotes by zip code and save on policy!

  43. Anonymous

    Oct. 2, 2015
    10:52 a.m.

    de Un Ibiza acula Ese sangricio pelinegro, Este penitente rarea Ese ajonje inconfidente. Como Ibiza consigna Ese batiburrillo perdido

Sign In

Forgot password?



Receive daily coverage of the people, politics and personality of Capitol Hill.

Subscription | Free Trial

Logging you in. One moment, please...