False Promises: Failing to Serve those who Served

When Congresswoman Jackie Walorski hits the campaign trail, it doesn’t take long for her to talk about her record supporting veterans. In this swing district, home to over 50,000 veterans, she believes that message will lift her to reelection.

Congresswoman Walorski speaks fondly of when Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald visited the South Bend VA facility in July. She tells the story of how she got one veteran access to the surgery he needed to save his life. Congresswoman Walorski is especially proud of her service on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.

She also vows to keep the United States safe from terrorism. In this landlocked Midwestern state, Congresswoman Walorski promises to protect Hoosiers from direct attacks by ISIS.

She promises to keep the prison at Guantanamo Bay open, and to continue to strengthen our military. Walorski is more worried about terrorists striking Elkhart than she is about the long wait times and rising costs of healthcare at VA facilities throughout the district and across the country.

It is clear that Congresswoman Walorski cares deeply about our veterans. She claims to have expanded access to healthcare while also holding the VA accountable. In truth, Walorski has gotten some Hoosier veterans the care they need. She should be commended for her service here.

When you get the full picture, though, it is clear that her efforts for veterans have fallen woefully short.

Congresswoman Walorski voted to underfund the VA by $1.9 billion. She voted against a $15 million increase in medical funding for veterans. She cut access to healthcare for over 70,000 veterans.

And yet Congresswoman Walorski claims to hold the Department accountable; she brought the VA Secretary to South Bend, after all.

What she really means by accountability, though, is limiting the ability of the VA to provide crucial healthcare and services to veterans. When she claims to be a champion for all veterans, she is really only concerned with those in her campaign ads.

It is sad, it is shameful, and it is despicable that an elected official would turn their back on the brave men and women who fight so valiantly for our country. When that elected official is a Congresswoman with direct oversight of the Department of Veterans Affairs, it is absolutely unthinkable.

Wait times at VA facilities are still long. Healthcare for veterans is still expensive. Access to that expensive healthcare is still limited. You want an outside opinion? Good luck getting it.

There are serious problems with the VA that can be fixed with concrete steps. Congress has the ability — and the duty — to maximize access to quality healthcare for veterans. They have the power to reduce inefficiencies in the VA and to better allocate their budget. They can ensure that no veteran will be denied the healthcare that they have earned and deserve.

Congresswoman Walorski, however, has turned veterans’ issues into little more than a political tool. If she were truly concerned about veterans and the issues plaguing the VA, Congresswoman Walorski would have fought tooth and nail to ensure these problems were fixed.

Instead, she sticks to her campaign talking points, her rubber stamp voting record, and her knack for always bringing a camera when she meets a veteran. Congresswoman Walorski could be a great fighter for Hoosier veterans, if only she weren’t so worried about her reelection.