12/9 Paulsen Correspondence Corner : One Year Later, Congress Approves Enhancing Veteran Care Act

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PREFACE :
Erik Paulsen regularly issues a video Correspondence Corner in which he responds to constituent questions.
It is a great ploy — Congressman Paulsen determines what question is to be answered … thus, providing him an opportunity to portray himself as effectively responding to issues that he wishes to address as if they are the most critical issues that voters want addressed.
The MN Political Roundtable will be evaluating Congressman Paulsen’s responses and encouraging readers to offer their own assessments.

Today’s topic: H.R. 42- Enhancing Veteran Care Act

Tomorrow’s topic: HR 3990 – H.R.3990 – National Monument Creation and Protection Act

In this week’s Correspondence Corner, Erik Paulsen responds to two emails (ignoring the most meaningful bill passed last week — H R 38 Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 (which he voted YES rejecting the States’ Rights argument that each state should be able to determine who has the right to conceal a gun.)

When Rob in Minnetonka urged Erik Paulsen to support the Enhancing Veteran Care Act, ya had to know the Congressman saw an opportunity to showcase his #PaulsenSpin moves.

After all, who could object to a bill titled “Enhancing Veteran Care Act” … well, the answer is nobody in the House as it passed 423-0 after it had passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent on November 9th.

So, ya gotta ask why did it take virtually a month for the House to vote on it ?
Well, actually, the better question is why did it take ONE YEAR for the House to vote on it ?
Yep, the Enhancing Veteran Care Act was previously offered in the House as HR 6435 on December 5, 2016 … and again with the start of this new Congress as HR 42 on January 3, 2017. The House did not act on HR 42, instead once the Senate passed the identical bill S 1266, it acted.

So, what’s in the bill ?

The Enhancing Veteran Care Act would authorize VA to contract with non-profits that accredit health care organizations to investigate VA medical centers.
Most often, investigating of wrongdoing or substandard care practices within VA is completed by the Inspector General (IG) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO), but these investigations take time to complete, despite the fact veterans may be in imminent danger because of substandard care practices.

So, what’s the impetuous for this bill ?

Well according the Veterans Affairs Committee report, “Substandard care practices are dangerous to veterans and must be addressed quickly.”

“quickly” ?
Yep, no doubt veterans are impressed with how the Republican-controlled House defines “quickly” — ONE YEAR.

Sorta may explain why other veterans’ bills have failed to be allowed a vote by Republican leadership :
H.R. 632 – Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act
H.R.1206 – Reducing Barriers for Veterans Education Act of 2017
H.R.1279 – Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act
H.R.1472 – Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act of 2017
H.R.2452 – Deborah Sampson Act
H.R.2827 – Voices for Veterans Act
H.R.3272 – Veteran Education Empowerment Act

All these bills have bipartisan support … and sponsored by at least one Minnesota member of Congress … but none have been sponsored by Congressman Paulsen.
Hmmmm …. maybe Rob of Minnetonka could help ?

Sadly, some veterans are already skeptical of H.R. 42 – Enhancing Veteran Care Act as really being meaningful. They’re more concerned about what will happen if VA funding is reduced … as the Republican tax cuts will drive the deficit higher … resulting in Congressman Paulsen mantra that #WashingtonMustDoMoreWithLess will be returned as his refrain.

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