Archive for 2014

Rumbling to a Congressional break

It could be a messy final few hours in Congress on Thursday, as lawmakers get ready to take a five week summer break that lasts until after Labor Day, as final action is assured on a VA reform bill, but other major legislation remains in limbo as the smell of …

Continue reading Rumbling to a Congressional break »

Report: Workers got full pay and bonuses for little work

In a new report, internal investigators say more than $5 million in federal resources were wasted at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as a group of workers were allowed to draw full pay, benefits and bonuses while doing little actual work for several years.

“The volume of hours charged …

Continue reading Report: Workers got full pay and bonuses for little work »

VA reform deal price tag at $17 billion

Despite adding billions to the federal deficit, a bipartisan $17 billion plan to help reform the VA seems to be on its way to approval this week in the Congress, as key lawmakers vowed on Monday to push the bill through the House and Senate by the end of this …

Continue reading VA reform deal price tag at $17 billion »

Congress stumbles toward a summer break

The focus in the Congress this week is on getting a few things done before the annual summer break for lawmakers, as after this Friday, the House and Senate won’t be in legislative session again until after Labor Day, what’s known in Washington, D.C. as the August Recess.

Usually, the …

Continue reading Congress stumbles toward a summer break »

VA scandal touches a nerve

As a reporter, you can always tell when a story takes another step forward because listeners and readers begin getting in touch with you to either tell their stories or to offer up insights of their own. And that’s where we seem to have arrived with questions about the Department …

Continue reading VA scandal touches a nerve »

Whistleblowers rap VA’s “culture of corruption”

In a hearing that stretched until almost 1 am, it was a familiar story line before the House Veterans Affairs Committee on Monday night – but from a different part of the VA – as another panel of whistleblowers detailed how they raised questions about troubles inside the agency, only …

Continue reading Whistleblowers rap VA’s “culture of corruption” »

New charges of VA data manipulation

Internal investigators at the Department of Veterans Affairs have told Congress that some VA workers were “cooking the books” on benefit claims by veterans to make it look like the work was being done in a more timely fashion, much like earlier charges that VA schedulers were changing dates to …

Continue reading New charges of VA data manipulation »

Congress grapples with Obama border plan

As top Obama Administration officials presented their arguments for a $3.7 billion plan to deal with a surge of kids coming over the border into the United States, there was evidence both of tough sledding ahead for the White House and maybe also the seeds of a deal to approve …

Continue reading Congress grapples with Obama border plan »

Feds wrongly paid out $106 billion in 2013

In the bureaucratic lexicon of Washington, D.C., they are known as “improper payments,” where Uncle Sam wrongly pays out billions of dollars each year. On Wednesday, a House committee was told that those payments totaled almost $106 billion in 2013.

“Actually, it’s over $100 billion each of the last five …

Continue reading Feds wrongly paid out $106 billion in 2013 »

Whistleblowers paint dark picture of VA

In a hearing that stretched to midnight Tuesday night, the VA faced more bipartisan Congressional criticism as a group of four whistleblowers detailed how they spoke up about internal problems only to be subjected to personal attacks and retaliation from supervisors and top officials in the VA.

“I was immediately …

Continue reading Whistleblowers paint dark picture of VA »