News Releases

For years, the Bush Administration has not been honest with us about the cost of war. Today, a new report from the GAO shows just how deep this deception runs, and how it is hurting those who have sacrificed for all of us.

The report shows that:

  • The VA knew there were serious problems, but misled Congress for 6 months.

  • The VA knew its cost savings were hot air, but misled Congress for 4 years.

  • The VA's budgets were based on "unrealistic assumptions, errors in estimation, and insufficient data."

  • And most damning -- the VA did not accurately plan to handle the impact of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Personally, I'm really outraged that the Bush Administration failed to plan to meet the needs of our brave troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Protecting and taking care of our troops is the most basic responsibility for those planning and executing a war. Unfortunately, this report offers a stunning indictment of this Administration's commitment to our troops when they return home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

For years, I’ve been asking anyone and everyone involved in the planning of these operations how they could possibly fail so miserably at taking care of our heroes when they return home. I’ve asked more than one Secretary of Veterans Affairs. I’ve asked the Secretary of Defense. I’ve asked generals who’ve appeared before my committees. Not one of them had a real answer. That’s why today, with this report, I can no longer simply blame the VA. Or blame the Department of Defense. The failure and blame reaches to the entire Bush Administration, and they need to be held accountable.

I'm also outraged that the Bush Administration repeatedly misled Congress about the problems it was facing. While I was fighting to provide our veterans with the help they needed, this Administration fought me every step of the way. They said everything was fine – even though they knew there were real problems.

I'm concerned that these problems continue today. In July, the VA told the Congressional Budget Office that it would need $1 billion each year for this war – over the next 10 years. I'm very concerned that number is too low and fails to account for the lion's share of troops who will be separating from military service and seeking VA care.

Congress needs to provide real oversight, so we can start getting real answers. The report shows that the quarterly reports we require from the VA are late and inaccurate. We're never going to meet the needs of our veterans unless we know what those needs really are. We need Congressional hearings, and we need to hold the Bush Administration accountable. I'm afraid they still don't have a plan for our troops coming home from the Middle East, and we cannot force our veterans to pay the price for this Administration's failures.

America's veterans deserve to be treated with respect, and respect starts with the Bush Administration telling the truth about the challenges our veterans are facing.