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Jacqueline Klimas

Jacqueline Klimas

Jacqueline Klimas covers Capitol Hill for The Washington Times. She can be reached at jklimas@washingtontimes.com.

Articles by Jacqueline Klimas

**FILE** The seal affixed to the front of the Department of Veterans Affairs building in Washington is seen here on June 21, 2013. (Associated Press)

N.H. senators push for permanent Choice Cards for some vets

Both New Hampshire senators said Friday that they introduced a bill to make the Choice Card permanent in states with no full-service Veterans Affairs hospital in response to the president's plan to cut from the program. Published February 6, 2015

Victims of the Fort Hood shooting will soon be eligible to receive the Purple Heart, with Congress pushing ahead with a policy change that would officially recognize domestic terrorism as an issue, rather than the "workplace violence" designation the Obama administration had used. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Fort Hood victims to finally get Purple Heart

The U.S. Army announced Friday that it will award the Purple Heart to the victims of the 2009 Fort Hood killings after years of pressure to designate the shooting as a terrorist attack. Published February 6, 2015

Brian McKeon, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, said the administration doesn't believe it's a coincidence that a Jordanian pilot and a Japanese hostage were wearing orange jumpsuits, which he said are symbols of Guantanamo Bay, in two recent execution videos released by the Islamic State. (Associated Press)

Obama uses burning of Jordanian pilot to argue for closing Gitmo

The Obama administration said Thursday that the Islamic State's execution of captives in orange jumpsuits is evidence that Guantanamo Bay is being used as a recruitment tool by terrorists and must be shut down, even if it means releasing dangerous terrorists back into the Middle East. Published February 5, 2015

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., flanked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., left, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, where he gathered a bipartisan group of Senators to call on American support for Ukraine which needs weaponry to stave off incursion from Russia and Ukrainian separatists. The top NATO commander says that Russia continues to supply the separatists with heavy, state-of-the-art weapons, air defenses and fighters. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Ukraine urges U.S. to make good on nukes-for-protection deal

Ukrainian leaders pleaded Thursday with the Obama administration to provide lethal weapons to defend against a Russian invasion, saying that America promised more than two decades ago to protect the country when it gave up its stockpile of nuclear weapons. Published February 5, 2015

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald on Monday defended President Obama's plan to scale back funding for the VA Choice Card, and redirect that money to other parts of the agency. The House and Senate veterans' affairs committees expressed concerns about the proposal. (Associated press)

VA Secretary McDonald defends Obama's Choice Card budget cut

VA Secretary Robert McDonald defended President Obama's budget request to cut some funding from the new Choice Card program for veterans, saying he wants the embattled department to be able to make decisions about whether the program is working and when to limit it. Published February 3, 2015

Defense Dept.'s $2M staffing-needs calculator doesn't meet needs

The Defense Department spent $2 million to develop a tool to estimate mental health staffing requirements, but the services say it doesn't do an accurate job of estimating needs, choosing instead to use legacy or service-specific estimates for the fiscal 2016 requests, according to a report released Friday. Published January 30, 2015

Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald speaks at the National Press Club in Washington on Nov. 7, 2014. The Veterans Affairs Department says it is creating a single regional framework that divides the sprawling agency into five clearly marked regions. The new framework is part of a larger reorganization that VA leaders say will bring a singular focus on customer service to an agency that serves 22 million veterans. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File) **FILE**

VA touts new map with few details as positive step forward

Officials for the Department of Veterans Affairs released a map of the United States divided into five regions on Monday, touting it as a positive first step to eliminate bureaucracy, though it's still unclear how each of the department's arms will fit into the new borders that took four months to draw. Published January 26, 2015

**FILE** The seal affixed to the front of the Department of Veterans Affairs building in Washington is seen here on June 21, 2013. (Associated Press)

VA popularity plummets: poll

The Department of Veterans Affairs' popularity among the public dropped sharply over the past year, making it the third-least popular government agency, a poll released Thursday found. Published January 23, 2015

The seal affixed to the front of the Department of Veterans Affairs building in Washington is seen here on June 21, 2013. The number of military suicides is nearly double that of a decade ago when the U.S. was just a year into the Afghan war and hadn't yet invaded Iraq. While the pace is down slightly this year, it remains worryingly high. The U.S. military and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) acknowledge the grave difficulties facing active-duty and former members of the armed services who have been caught up in the more-than decade-long American involvement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Associated Press)

Disability appeals process forces some vets to wait years

More than half of all VA disability appeal cases are sent back for another review — sometimes more than once — and must be addressed before new cases are opened, leading some veterans to wait years for a final decision, the Veterans Affairs Department admitted Thursday. Published January 22, 2015