According to Rep. Tierney, The Buck Stops There


Yesterday, Congressman Tierney finally stood up to take responsibility for Congress’ complete failure on veterans health care. Then, he passed the buck.

In a statement to the Salem News, Congressman Tierney agreed, through his campaign manager, that this is an incredibly serious issue; then he promptly passed the buck to another committee. Instead of leading on this issue, Congressman Tierney is pinning all the responsibility on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, on which he does not sit. “[I trust] it will be led by the facts and will spur legislation, if warranted,” he said through a spokesman.

If warranted? The Phoenix VA is accused of creating a secret waiting list responsible for the deaths of 40 veterans. And this isn’t an isolated incident: VA facilities across the country—from Wyoming and Colorado to Texas and South Carolina—are coming under investigation for similar practices. What will it take for Congressman Tierney to think some action is warranted?

The problem, it seems, is that Congressman Tierney doesn’t even recognize that there is a problem. When I called on the Congressman to stop turning a blind eye to our veterans, his response was that everything is fine: The Wounded Warrior Act,” he again said through a spokesman, “guaranteed wounded soldiers received improved medical care.”

40 deaths is an improvement? Only a member of the least effective Congress in our nation’s history could think this acceptable. It’s time to stop paying lip service to our veterans. We need someone who knows what it’s like to be on the ground, on the front lines, and then understands the challenges of coming home. Like millions of veterans, I rely on the VA for my health care. I have personally waited over two hours just to get blood drawn. I have friends who have waited months and years for needed surgeries. If Congressman Tierney thinks this is acceptable, I hope he has a plan to explain himself to the millions of veterans who have earned better.