Donald L. Samuels, national commander of the DAV, told the joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs committees, said the growing VA claims backlog with 800,000 pending claims and he expressed concern for the burgeoning VA bureaucracy.
"Some Veterans Integrated Service Networks -- veterans' healthcare networks separated geographically into 21 regions -- employ hundreds of administrative personnel and have occupied enormous buildings to serve as their permanent headquarters. We urge the committees to carefully examine the growth of Veterans Integrated Service Networks and the increasing share of the budget that they currently consume, versus the value they add to the delivery of VA healthcare."
Another issue facing the VA is the possibility of devastating budget cuts, said Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
"This issue arises due to an ambiguity in the law and the Obama administration's refusal to answer basic questions on whether VA would be part of this historic cut," Miller said. "For months I've been trying to get clarity about this issue to no avail, and that is why I want to thank you, Cmdr. Samuels, and all members of the DAV, for joining other veterans groups in pleading with the president to direct the Office of Management and Budget to give us, and the nation, the administration's interpretation of the conflicts in law so we can protect veterans healthcare and benefits."