Arkansas Lawmakers Speak Out On VA Scandal

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Arkansas lawmakers are speaking out after a scandal involving sometimes fatal delays at Veterans Affairs hospitals led to national VA Secretary Eric Shinseki's resignation.

Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor and Republican Rep. Tom Cotton said it was time for change at the top.

“Secretary Shinseki needed to resign. I told him to resign over a week ago,” Cotton said.

“I cannot say I was surprised on a personal note,” Pryor said. “I hate to see Gen. Shinseki leave this way, because he’s been such a great warrior and veteran and advocate. But sometimes it’s just time to go.”

The two agreed high quality health care for veterans is a priority.

“Both VA’s believe they are in good shape, that they don’t have this problem here in Arkansas. Which is great,” Pryor said.

“That’s not what our veterans deserve. That’s not the kind of care we should be giving them,” Cotton said.

5NEWS asked if similar problems occurred in Arkansas VA hospitals, and whether VA hospitals nationally can come back from the scandal.

“In our consultations with the VAs in Arkansas, it does not appear that these kind of off the books waiting lists were kept or that there was any potential criminal wrong doing,” Cotton said. “But our team is certainly going to be working closely with the VA system to make sure veterans get the absolute care they can in the VA system.”

“It’s a big concern,” Pryor said. “But I think the answer is it can be fixed. It has to be fixed. We don’t have an option. We owe this to our veterans.”

Cotton is attempting to unseat Pryor in the November election for U.S. Senator from Arkansas, which is less than six months away.


  • Aim

    My appointments have always been on time but when I made an appointment outside of my “normal cycle” I was informed by my doctor that the VA wasn’t for regular care. She also informed me that I was obese and needed to see a nutritionist. I am 5’10” and weigh about 190!! My last C&P exam the doctor tried to tell me my back problem was genetic. I am the only one with this problem and it isn’t genetic! Then I get a letter stating my injuries have improved and I should be rated at 10% but that would be determined at a later appointment. I live with my injuries every day, they don’t. Some days it’s ok and others it’s not. Just because the x-ray looks good doesn’t mean I’m not in pain!

  • Larry

    I am a Vet, and my back hurts too. Disabilitys are given out too easily. 10% is nothing. Just go on about yor business.

    • Aim

      Well Larry to fill you in on the rest of it. I am rated at 40% for two service connected injuries. So yeah a knock back to 10% is a big deal. These weren’t pre-existing conditions, they were inuries I sustained in the military doing my job. I have gone through two C&P exams, am subject to drug tests and have appointments every 18 months. If I miss one I can lose my comp pay.

  • newsonvets

    Of course, you won’t hear about cotton voting to cut va funding, military retirement, and pay for soldiers here at kfsm (cotton’s personal mouthpiece).

    • Tom

      KFSM’s personal mouthpiece? You are delusional, just like the rest of your liberal, Obama-h*mping clowns.

      • Bob Gnarly

        Tom, Tom Sambo, Elaphas, Elaphas Maximus, taz, Uncle Tom…….

        How many personalities do you have?

        And are any of them pleasant?

        Do any of them actually think for themselves?

        Just curious. Regardless, thanks for the laughs!

  • Sarah 1

    Tom, Taz, Elephas, Uncle Tom, maybe HL, all your alternate names, you need to look up Tom Cotton’s voting record in the short time he has been in the House. He is a constant NO voter even for Republicans requests for VA jobs or benefits. Or do you know how to do research?

    Ask one of your alternate egos. Do the troll bosses pay you for each comment? How does that work exactly? Maybe this is what you do to earn your living? Or do you live off the government you find so despicable? The ‘yawns’ are revolting.

    • Sarah 1


      H.R. 466 – Wounded Veteran Job Security Act – This bill would actually provide job security for veterans who are receiving medical treatment for injuries suffered while fighting in defense of their country. It would prohibit employers from terminating
      employees who miss work while receiving treatment for a service-related disability.  

      H.R. 1168 — Veterans Retraining Act – This bill would provide for assistance to help veterans who are currently unemployed with their expenses while retraining for the current job market.

      H.R. 1171 – Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization–  This bill would reauthorize programs in support of homeless veterans, to assist them with job training, counseling, and placement services through the Department of Veterans Affairs through 2014.  

      H.R. 1172 — Requiring List on VA Website of Organizations Providing Scholarships for Veterans which does nothing more than direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to include information about scholarships for veterans.

      H.R. 1293 — Disabled Veterans Home Improvement and Structural Alteration Grant Increase Act of 2009 – Here’sanother bill in support of those who have fought for their country, passed by House Democrats and blocked from becoming law by Republicans.

      This would increase the amount paid by the VA to disabled veterans for necessary home structural improvements from $4,100 to $6,800 for those who are more than 50% disabled, and from  $1,200 to $2,000 who are less than 50%, disabled. This means, if a veteran lost the use of his legs in service of his country, the country will pay for the wheelchair ramp so that he can live at home.

      By the way, the last time this ceiling was lifted was in 1992.  There isn’t even a fiscal reason for being against this bill, as the total cost of this bill, according to CBO estimates, would be a “whopping” $20 million. That’s about a quarter (25 cents) per family of four.

      H.R. 1803 — Veterans Business  Center Act –  This bill would set up a Veterans Business Center program within the Small Business Administration, which would specialize in such programs as grants for service-disabled veterans, help them develop business plans and secure business opportunities. In other words, folks, it would create jobs and offer opportunities those who have fought in defense of our country.  

      H.R. 2352 – Job Creation Through Entrepreneurship Act – This bill essentially combines a number of other bills that Republicans had blocked in the Senate previously, and adds a few elements. The bill would again establish a Veterans Business Center Program; …. it would establish a Military Entrepreneurs Program; …

      I did not include 2014 due to lack of space.

      • JR

        Apparently you know nothing about poison pill legislation. Both sides use this tactic. It inserts a “no can do line ” into an otherwise good bill for the sake of getting the other side to kill the bill, then they can use the vote against their opponents, it’s call politics and it’s a nasty business. They know the voters are never going to read the whole bill and find out the trust for themselves.

  • Sarah 1

    Oh JR thank you for telling me else I would have never known.

    For you see by my comments I don’t really know about POISON PILL.

    Not getting any, are you guys? You don’t know how to include information only rhetoric. Well that is is okay because your allegiance is to the party of RHETORIC. Allegiance defined – the obligation of the feudal vassal to his liege lord; the fidelity owed by a subject or citizen to a government; great devotion.

  • Sarah 1

    What? You think you are Sean Hannity? Get over yourself. If you want answers to your inquiries, look them up. your talking points memo Tom is over.

    • JR

      I’m not asking for myself Sarah, you are the one that posted the part of the bill that supports your agenda. You say you understand poison pill legislation, I’m just giving you the chance to be honest and prove it, but like most liberals you don’t have that ability.

  • newsonvets

    @JR: you’re correct about poison pill lines in legislation, but that doesn’t explain GOP introduced legislation to slash veteran benefits. Nor does it explain Tom’s support for that legislation.

    • Mark Smith

      Actually news, it does. Liberals always think they can change the truth if they make a statement otherwise or “FEEL” it strong enough. And Sarah, still waiting. You’ve been called out. Your lack of response or delay in response only shows you to be a liberal. My God woman THINK! AND STOP FEELING TO THE EXCLUSION OF LOGIC.

      • newsonvets

        @Mark, take the politics out of it, read this thread as if it were about sports or some other mundane topic and it’s obvious that one group is speaking from emotion and the other is using facts, documentation and logic.

        One groups is calling names, the other is posting links and citing facts.

        Do tell, how do poison lines in legislation justify GOP sponsored legislation to slash military pay, veterans benefits, and VA funding going back over a decade?

      • Sarah 1

        Facts. Facts. Facts.
        Belittling women is a true habit of your party. You have nothing to say. Just another TOM alias.

  • newsonvets

    Do me a favor and compare funding for vets in house budgets and presidential proposed budgets going back ten years. Look it up. Don’t assume it’s what you expect.

  • newsonvets

    Until you look at how the GOP has been systematically cutting veteran’s services since WAY before Obama, you won’t know where the real scandal is. Until you stop listening to tha LaRouche-ite brietbert, you’ll keep serving folks who want the UNITED States to fall. Research LaRouche. Read GOP budget proposals going back 30 years. Learn.

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