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Tuesday, Oct 29 2013 11:02 PM

Congress moves forward on ending VA bottleneck

By The Bakersfield Californian

Let us pause the rancorous debates over Obamacare, immigration reform, spying on allies and the tea party's role in plunging Republican Party poll numbers long enough to hand out a well-deserved attaboy.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy's bill designed to speed up the flow of veteran's disability claims, which have been almost criminally bottlenecked by faulty processes and ill-trained employees, passed resoundingly Monday in Congress. McCarthy's legislation has a mouthful of a title (the Ending the VA Claims Disability Backlog and Accountability Act) but a worthy purpose: getting vets the benefits they have coming. In many cases, veterans have waited more than a year to receive their due, often resulting in financial hardship.

The Bakersfield Republican's bill puts into motion recommendations by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office to rewire communications among federal agencies and maintain strict oversight by Congress. It also establishes new training programs for the Veterans Administration employees who process claims. McCarthy had requested a GAO audit of the VA months ago, and the agency's report documented pervasive failures, mostly due to poor communication and lax training.

The legislation now moves to the U.S. Sentate. We recommend prompt approval. Our veterans are still waiting.

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