The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a piece of legislation called the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act. You can go online and read- it’s only 3 ½ pages long. The press reports say that it’s specifically relaxing the standard bureaucratic red tape, the union contracts that make it exceedingly difficult to fire federal employees for any reason. This is one of the things that people brought up in defense of General Eric Shinseki and his stewardship of the VA. He has relatively little management control over firing, over hours of work, terms and conditions of employment, shifts and all the rest of that stuff- it’s all laid out in a government employee contract.
So this was meant to give Shinseki more control by being able to fire, under certain circumstances, people lower than his immediate deputies,
which are political appointees. Let’s take that as the assumption of the general thrust of this legislation.
The problem is that vote in the House was not unanimous. After all we have learned about the unaccountability these people and the fact that after three audits in the Bush administration, a commitment from the Obama administration to fix it, an Obama transition team that was briefed, a memo in April of 2010 from the undersecretary of the VA, laying out what cannot be done anymore in the scamming tricks to make it look like they are getting the vets in within the 14 days when they’re not.
All that was very well known all of it did not change. It didn’t change, because we the people, through our elected representatives and their appointees, do not control this bureaucracy. It is now independent of any accountability. Under the circumstances with literally the lives of our veterans at stake 33 Democrats voted no on this legislation. All Republicans voted yes, most Democrats voted yes, 33 Democrats voted no. These Democrats are basically union backed liberals. The unions will not change anything even when vets are dying because of their contract. They will not yield.
When something like this gets unionized , you have lost control. The union is running it their way and they are not running it for the veterans- they are running it for their union members. You can go on line and many facebook pages have posted the names of the 33 Democrats who voted no. Also the Senate refused to hear the bill- they wanted time to read it. Strange they want time to read a 3 ½ page bill but could care less about reading the 2,000 + page ObamaCare bill.
After the meeting in the Oval Office, Obama chose to keep General Eric Shinseki as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. One of the reasons why is Shinseki is tough to criticize. He is a retired four-star general, former Army Chief of Staff. He was himself seriously wounded in combat in Vietnam. It’s a record that commands
respect from everybody.
There is another reason that this president has a hard time making this decision or didn’t want to fire him. That is because the left views Shinseki as a hero for a reason that is lost to most of the popular history. In early 2003, as the Bush administration was planning for the invasion of Iraq, Shinseki from within the Pentagon argued that the force was too small, that he believed that several hundred thousand soldiers were going to be needed to invade Iraq. In fact, he went to Congress called there by the Democrats who heard about his dissent within the Pentagon, and in public he said it. He didn’t try to evade the issue at all. He told Congress in February of 2003 that something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers is probably the figure that would be required.
Of course, George Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld was heavily criticize him as of June of that year he retired. But the left did not forget protection Shinseki and what he had done. He had been right because Bush and Rumsfeld got talked into nation building instead of just overthrowing Saddam Hussein and then getting out. There was no clear reason why we were there, after taking out Hussein and the number of necessary troops became several hundred thousand soldiers to protect what were already there. Once you are an occupying force to try to figure out what you’re doing there and how to do it well without getting a lot of people killed.
Shinseki is a legend to liberals and when the Obama chose his cabinet the
former general was tapped to run the VA and that was widely seen as a recognition of his stand on the Iraq war. And if there is something more important than the current veterans to the left, is the mythology of the Bush mistakes in Iraq and this they will never let go of it.