CNN “State of the Union” host Candy Crowley on Sunday sat down with the chairs of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs oversight committees to quiz them on their role in letting Veterans Affairs backlogs go unnoticed.
“We added up the number of hearings together that the two of you have had since 2013, the beginning of the last session. It was well over 90,” she said to Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), adding that the two committee chairs had 10 joint hearings.
“You have to wonder now looking at this mess, and everyone saying we knew this and knew that, but looking at this mess now, is this not also a failure of oversight?” she asked.
Miller told Crowley that he has written to President Obama about wait times at VA facilities, but conceded that Congress likely played a role in the shortcomings.
“Sure, everybody probably is culpable in this, but we’re doing what we’ve been asked to do, and that is to find out the information,” he said.
“Well, what good is Congressional oversight,” Crowley probed, “if you’ve all been working on it for a year or two years, or let’s face it, going back a decade, not you two specifically…”
Sanders then jumped in, noting that “clearly there are incompetent administrators.” He also added that it may have a lot to do with funding.
“They’re treating 6.5 million people a year, 230,000 people every single day. Is there waste in the system? Absolutely,” he said. “But at the end of the day, when you have 2 million new veterans coming into the system, some with very difficult and complicated problems, I do think we have to take a hard look and see if we have the resources.”
Finally, after Miller lamented that the House has made many oversight requests that VA has yet to answer, Crowley took a jab at the many subpoenas the Republican-led House has issued.
“Can’t you just subpoena them?” Crowley asked. “They subpoena everyone else.”
Watch the clip via CNN: