A couple of things have recently come to my attention (h/t Sue Frasier) that reverberate against the backdrop of the oncoming fiscal storm.
The big show, the distraction, may be the Speaker and his Far Right hand man posturing for the cameras, perhaps playing for keeps, perhaps only creating a diversion to take our eyes off the real, underlying attack.
While the Leadersip prattles about reducing entitlements more rank and file Republicans may well be part of a more covert assault on the Veterans Adminstration. Two disparate news items do not a battle plan make, but they certainly get my attention.
First there was Rep. Jeff Miller, (R-FL) Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, going off when he believed he'd uncovered evidence of wasteful spending at the VA because somebody posted pictures of a fine dining experience in Italy to the Veterans Canteen Service's Facebook page. Rather than have his staff do their homework, Miller called the VA on the carpet over the alleged junket. Turns out they were pictures from a personal vacation.
Maybe Miller's feelings got hurt over his bumbling, but he certainly knew where to land the pain for his embarrassment. He promised the VA "more aggressive oversight".
He might have been on to something, looking into the two earlier VA conferences that had run up a $762,000 tab, had only it been his committee and not the VA's Inspector General who had discovered the suspiciously large expenses. Would that House Republicans watched over Defense contractors half so zealously.
Perhaps it's only coincidental that Miller's vendetta against the VA comes as no less a friend of the veteran than Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) is trumpeting, under the title "Cornyn Offers Legislation to Fight National VA Claims Backlog," his amendment to privatize the VA claim system! The gist of Cornyn's reasoning seems to be that since the Texas Veterans Commission, a division of state government, did something or other with some VA claims, it's very difficult to tell from Cornyn's announcement what they actually accomplished beyond filing more claims, adding to the backlog, somehow this proves the VA should pay private contractors to do the job Cornyn and his fellow congressional Republicans keep the underfunded VA from doing properly.
Not a penny more for more help for the VA as the tide of Vietnam veterans age into deteriorating health and a sea of OEF/OIF veterans swells on the near horizon, but cash aplenty for Cornyn's private buddies. Can you spell K.B.R.?
UPDATE: Once again a day late and a dollar short! I've just discovered that Cornyn's amendment passed the Senate 95-0 yesterday! I cannot add strongly enough that the "evidence" Cornyn cites for outside-the-VA partnerships, i.e., the road to privatization, is that the Texas Veterans Commission added thousands of new claims to the VA's backlog, not that they resolved any.
And thanks, of course, to the Rescue Rangers and all the kind kossacks who sent this to the Rec List.