VA Head Doesn’t Know What Congress Critter Has Done

Here’s a good one.

The head of the Veteran’s Administration got PO’d at Representative Coffman in a hearing and snarked at him “I’ve run a big company sir, what have you done?”

Well, all that Representative Coffman R-Colorado has done is start a small business that employed 20 people. .

Oh yes, he also served in the US Marine Corps as the XO in a light armor company in Kuwait (1st Gulf War) and later in Iraq (2nd Gulf War). He is retired from the Corps (did serve time in the Army Reserve before going into the USMC). He’s the only congresscritter to serve in both Gulf Wars.

From The Blaze:

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald Photo: Associated Press

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald Photo: Associated Press

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald lost his cool in a House hearing Wednesday after Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) asked him questions about huge cost overruns at a Denver VA hospital, which prompted McDonald to blame Congress for those problems and then imply that Coffman isn’t qualified to debate the issue.

At the end of a few minutes of sniping, McDonald ended by barking at Coffman, “I’ve run a large company, sir. What have you done?”

As it turns out, Coffman is a combat veteran who started his own company, and is the only member of Congress to have served in both Iraq wars.

The comments from McDonald, who once ran Procter & Gamble, were later described by Coffman’s office as “obnoxious.”

“Mike Coffman has been fighting for years to fix the failures of the Department of Veterans Affairs, but he can’t legislate leadership,” said his spokesman, Tyler Sandberg. “Notwithstanding Secretary McDonald’s obnoxious comments, Rep. Coffman is concerned that the secretary will never fix the problems at the VA so long as he refuses to fully acknowledge that his organization continues to be dysfunctional at every level.”

“The secretary may think that making personal attacks against Rep. Coffman makes for good sound bites on TV but it’s a diversion from what should be his core task: changing the culture within the VA,” Sandberg added.

The fracas started when Coffman criticized the VA for citing its effort to defend cost and time overruns at a Denver hospital projects as a major accomplishment. “How is that a success?” Coffman asked. “You lost that case on every single point for the hospital in my district that is hundreds of millions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.”

“I think that that’s just characteristic of your glossing over the extraordinary problems confronted by your department,” Coffman added. “This is a department mired in bureaucratic incompetence and corruption. And I gotta tell you, I think the public relations is great today, but there’s no substance.”

McDonald said he was offended by those remarks, and then dodged the question and tried to shift the blame to Coffman and others in Congress.

“Actually, I’ve been here six months,” McDonald said to Coffman. “You’ve been here longer than I have. If there’s a problem in Denver, I think you own it more than I do.”

Coffman didn’t rise to the bait, and instead suggested that the VA should get out of the construction business entirely given its management failures around the country. McDonald replied that the VA doesn’t want to manage every VA construction contract, and then gave Coffman another jab.

“If you want I’ll give you my cellphone tonight, and you can answer some of the calls and see if I’m making a different for veterans,” he said. “Or go on the websites and see what the veterans are saying on the websites.”

That’s when he dropped the line, “I’ve run a large company, sir. What have you done?”

The VA has seen more than its share of management failures over the last several months, which has slowly forced some officials to resign. While McDonald was given the power to fire corrupt or negligent officials, he has yet to use that authority to fire anyone for reasons related to last year’s veterans’ health care scandal.

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About vonMesser

Retired from the US Navy (21 years) and state (20 years). Recently remarried after being widowed for 5 years. 2 daughters, and a step-daughter, all functioning adults). Graduated from college after the Navy with BA in Education, psychology, Economics, History and Political Science. Teach Hunter Safety for Washington (since 1991) and do historical reenactments for Civil War, WW-1and WW-2.
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9 Responses to VA Head Doesn’t Know What Congress Critter Has Done

  1. Uriel says:

    Most of us have personal horror stories from those we know or family concerning VA. The corruption found in these facilities have not just recently begun. From long wait lines, to intimate female exams done in hallways where everyone walks through, to the prescription of drugs never given to the one intended for use, to the demoralization and isolation of its inhouse patients, the VA has always fallen short. Often people housed there have to rely on donations for bare necessities like toothbrushes or articles of clothing because they are not being provided by the hospital.

    These are not field hospitals repairing during the heat of battle who do the best they can under extreme conditions often with less than adequate provisions. Our military personnel are NOT throw away and only deserving of help during their functioning stage. If anything our VA facilities of all kinds should be examples of the best our country has to offer in the medical and rehabilitation fields. A soldier is given high priced tools to do the job his government mandates but that soldier is held accountable. So too should those be who then are tasked with puttiing broken lives back together. Stop viewing VA hospitals as throw away, useless end jobs and treat them with the same respect and honor given to a President as commander and chief. The soldiers carried out and paid the price Not the highest eschelon.

  2. Bill says:

    Right. The VA has been known for inefficiency and inability since before World War Two. The MASH books (follow-on ones) refer to that pretty heavily. My father retired in 1956 after well over 20 years in the Navy, and he nrefused to go to nthe VA because of ntheir ineptitude. I would love to see Congress be required to go to the VA for their medical care.

  3. Kathy says:

    McDonald is just borderline smartass, isn’t he? For someone who’s only been there 6 months, he should have the attitude of ‘give me time to clean it up’, not tossing around snarky remarks and asking stupid questions.

    He’s not coming across as a person who’s overly concerned with cleaning up the VA mess which has been going on for decades now.

  4. I.R. Wayright says:

    They ought to hire bureaucrats with the deal that if they don’t clean up and improve the operation they are overseeing, they don’t get their paycheck.

    • Uriel says:

      How about as FEDERAL EMPLOYEES to cut down on rising insurance costs and participate fully in Obamacare, they all utilize the closest VA or military medical facilities??? Wonder how quickly the VA would get straightened out And how fast Obamacare would be sliced, diced, and trashed?

  5. Bill says:

    That’s one solution, IR. As for me, I’d close the VA completely, and give VA medical over to regular US military medical. As is, now, we throw doctors out of the military, and they go ogg and either work civilian or VA. If we kept the docs and corpsmen in, we’d have better control over their quality of service. No civilian bureaucrats unless they have already retired from the military, and are then re-employed as civilians. (this would open it up to wounded/disabled vets).

  6. Grouchy says:

    Mike Coffman is a MAN, and has had previous experience in government, before becoming Representative of Colorado’s 6th Congressional District. He’s served as Secretary of State, as well as Colorado State Treasurer. As noted, he’s a veteran, and of the USMC. NOT a man to slap in the face with a wet glove, by any means.

    The Denver VA did save my life, back in 1993, when I had a heart attack. BUT~! There is a LOT that needs to be done in the Denver VA, and Coffman and Rep. Doug Lamborn are trying to battle the bureaucracy to improve VA care and facilities. But it’s nitwits like McDonald that are the tar pits of progress.

  7. Clyde says:

    Typical Obamaite response. IF he was SO GREAT at running P&G, WHY isn’t he STILL THERE ? Incompetent ass.

  8. tannngl says:

    Wow! No control of your ego is a dead ringer for a progressive moron. I’d love to see a dtypical day in the life of Robert McDonald. Just what has he done at the VA? Where are the improvements? WHAT HAS HE DONE?

    I think most of these numbskulls are in it for the prestige and power, maybe the money. They are without character or values. I’m pretty much guessing on McDonald since I don’t really know him but I’d put money on it.

    Thanks, vonMesser. Important stuff.