by Sally Jo Sorensen
Buried in VA warns shutdown threatens vets, a Politico story by Juana Summers, there's this example of a clod from Kansas wasting people's time with partisan rhetoric:
At times, the hearing veered tense, particularly as Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) questioned Shinseki on whether he believed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid liked veterans or not.
“Do you think Sen. Reid doesn’t like our veterans or the VA in particular,” Huelskamp asked Shinseki, drawing a swift rebuke from Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minn.).
“That’s beneath this Congress and certainly beneath this committee to question a commitment to veterans,” Walz said.
Responding to Huelskamp’s question, Shinseki said Reid “very highly values veterans.”
“As to why we are unable – Congress is unable – to do its business, I will leave that to the members to discuss,” Shinseki said.
Later, Huelskamp apologized.
House Republicans have passed a number of piecemeal bills to fund different parts of the government, including Veterans Affairs. But Senate Democrats and President Barack Obama have rejected the strategy.
Shinseki also argued that the VA’s efforts to chip away at the backlog of disability claims pending for longer than 125 days could be hampered by the furloughs of civilian employees, particularly those at the Veterans Benefits Administration and the Office of Information Technology.
Here's the committee U stream archive; Huelskamp's remarks start at about 1:51:40 in, and Walz is right after (about 1:57 in).
Video streaming by UstreamPhoto: Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.
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