Republican senators are accusing the Democratic-led Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs of ignoring countless calls to subject the Department of Veterans Affairs to oversight hearings before the current VA scandal broke.
The Republican-led House Committee on Veterans Affairs, meanwhile, has held six times as many VA oversight hearings than its Democrat-led Senate counterpart this Congress.
The Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, chaired by Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who caucuses with the Democratic party and is counted as a Democrat in the context of committee assignments, has held seven VA oversight hearings during this Congress.
“Minority members and staff have requested multiple oversight hearings since the beginning of the 113th Congress with none of the requested hearings taking place and no response,” according to a statement by the Republican minority on the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, issued late last week to announce a joint Republican letter calling on Sanders to hold more hearings.
“It is our mission as a committee to provide oversight and yet the Chairman has chosen to ignore requests for hearings,” said Republican North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr.
The House Committee on Veterans Affairs, chaired by Republican Florida Rep. Jeff Miller, has held 42 VA oversight hearings during the 113th and current Congress that began in January 2013.
In an April 9 hearing, Miller uncovered the existence of secret waiting lists at the Phoenix, Arizona VA medical facility that led to preventable veteran deaths and bipartisan calls for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation.