- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will hold a hearing Thursday on the state of the VA health care, as debate rages on Capitol Hill about backlogs and long wait times that may have harmed, or even killed, veterans in the Phoenix area and elsewhere.

“People who put their lives on the line to defend our country deserve the best care we can provide,” said Committee Chairman Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont independent.

He said that while many veterans give high marks to the administration, “it is clear to me that there are problems within the VA and that the VA has got to do better.”

In Phoenix, there are reports that veterans died while waiting for care, and that officials kept off-the-books lists to conceal the lengthy wait times.

Some GOP lawmakers have called on VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign over the burgeoning scandal.

Yet others are urging caution, noting the VA has made strides while it copes with the influx of veterans returning from theaters of conflict in the Middle East.

“This committee will do everything it can to review the serious allegations regarding the Phoenix VA and other facilities, but we will not rush to judgment,” Mr. Sanders said. “As soon as the inspector general completes its independent investigation in Phoenix, we will hold a hearing or series of hearings regarding what happened there.”