Good afternoon - 

One of my top priorities in the Senate is to eliminate wasteful spending and inefficiency throughout the federal government. With each Iowan’s share of the national debt exceeding $59,000, we cannot afford to continue bankrolling Washington’s reckless spending habits. That’s why each month, I research and identify areas of waste, abuse, and inefficiency and give out the Squeal Award.

Squeal Award: Eliminating VA Waste & Abuse

It’s no secret that there is deep corruption, waste, and abuse across the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). I have made clear that we simply cannot look the other way as continued misconduct and poor care continue without repercussions. 

Our veterans have selflessly sacrificed in defense of our freedoms and deserve better; they deserve nothing less than timely and quality care.

So, when an employee is ineffective or does something wrong, that individual must be held accountable – and certainly should not be rewarded. Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) seems to think otherwise.

Last month, I offered several amendments to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that would address these abuses. Here are a few examples:

  • Unfortunately, we have heard too many instances of VA’s employees who have been put on paid administrative leave – which is basically paid vacation - for sexually abusing female patients, drunk driving accidents, taking drug addicted patients to obtain illegal narcotics, and failing to do their job. This is absolutely absurd, which is why I offered legislation that would prohibit Congressional funding in these circumstances.
  • Did you know that the VA has already spent over $6.3 million on sculptures and fountains, including a $483,000 rock sculpture outside of Palo Alto? This type of out-of-control spending must be curbed. That’s why I offered a measure to prohibit funding for the procurement of art work or art related consulting services until the Secretary of the VA alerts Congress that the appointment backlogs for veterans seeking primary care has been eliminated.
  • As our veterans wait to receive assistance with their benefits, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) spent nearly $2 million transferring their executives across the country, with lavish pay increases and a relocation expense program that is abused. I offered a proposal to withhold all funds dedicated to VBA senior executives’ bonuses and instead, direct that money towards reducing the veteran disability appeals claim backlog.

Click here to read about more of the proposals I put forward.

While its executives have not earned their bonuses, the VA has engaged in more than enough waste and abuse to earn this month's Squeal Award.

Do you have an example of government waste or inefficiencies that I should take a look at? Send me an email by clicking here.

Thank you!