Arrington Chairs Final Subcommittee Hearing, Focusing on GI Bill Payment Delays
Washington, DC, November 21, 2018
– Congressman Jodey Arrington (TX-19) released the following statement after he held his final hearing as Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. Fifteen months after the Forever GI Bill was signed into law, expanding benefits for a new generation of veterans and their families, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been experiencing IT problems resulting in underpaid and/or delayed payments to student veterans. Unfortunately, due to a patch work of outdated IT systems, our veterans are now paying the price, and too many aren’t receiving the benefits they were promised and rely on to make ends meet. “The VA had a year to get this right, then – when they identified this IT issue – they committed it would be fixed before the semester started,” said Arrington. “Now, at my last Subcommittee hearing as Chairman, it is clear that the VA has no timeline by which to resolve the issue nor do they have the leadership and long-term plan in place to fix the root causes. “As I have said before, the broken and unwieldy bureaucracy at the VA is the biggest constraint to serving our veterans. Legislative reforms passed by Congress are only worth the paper they are written on if the VA isn’t able to implement them. We must do the following in order to resolve the systemic management dysfunction of the VA: demand the Senate expedite the confirmation of President Trump’s appointments to the VA, continue to create a culture of accountability among the VA employees, and keep pressure on the Department’s leadership to resolve the IT system issues that have wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars and let our veterans down. “I know my colleagues in Congress on both sides of the aisle, along with President Trump, are committed to breaking through the bureaucracy and making the VA work for our veterans, but we have a long way to go and must be relentless in our pursuit of the same level of service and sacrifice given to us by our servicemen and women. We promised it; they earned it; and the American people expect us to deliver on it.” Background: As the Chairman of the Economic Opportunity, Congressman Arrington held 22 subcommittee hearings and markups including: 14 oversight hearings; 5 legislative hearings; and 3 subcommittee markups, focusing on the use and abuse of taxpayer funded union time; oversight of implementation of the Forever GI Bill; oversight and improvement of TAP; identifying abuse of churning of VA home loans that harms veteran homebuyers; identifying best practices for hiring and retaining of veterans as well his legislation to help service-disabled veterans receive faster and more efficient services that President Trump signed into law. See here for the Committee’s announcement on the hearing. Both Chairman Phil Roe and Congressman Arrington are quoted.