In a rarity, Sen. Jon Tester goes to bat for the VA

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Sen. Jon Tester on Wednesday did something that’s unusual in Washington these days — he defended the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Montana Democrat told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the VA is doing a “good job” and that Secretary Eric Shinseki is cutting down the wait list of veterans, noting the backlog is rising on the front end because Americans troops are coming home from conflicts in the Middle East.

“The VA has plenty of room to improve, but they do plenty of things right, too,” Mr. Tester said.

He said Congress needs to “get to the bottom” of what happened in various parts of the country, such as Phoenix, where veterans allegedly died while waiting for care and officials kept off-the-books lists to conceal wait times.

But he also said it is “in vogue” in Washington to make everything about politics and to bash the VA and demand resignations without appreciating any of the administration’s work.

TV host Joe Scarborough could hardly hide his disgust with the senator and accused him of standing alone in holding a rosy view of the VA.

“I don’t get that,” Mr. Scarborough said after the interview, even suggesting the senator might be lobbying for a new VA center in his state.

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