Dear Conservative,

A deal has been struck over a piece of legislation that would finally bring relief to the tens of thousands of military veterans languishing within the VA medical system.

At a time when it is difficult to get Republicans and Democrats to agree on anything, it is a welcome breath of fresh air to see truly bi-partisan compromise on such an important issue. But unfortunately, not only is the bill laden with pork, but Congress also might go on vacation without voting on the VA benefits package! These career politicians might actually make our veterans wait FIVE more weeks without medical care, all because they want to go on vacation!

With that said, the bill has a lot of flaws that need to be fixed.

For one, the bill’s $17 billion dollar price tag is astronomically high. Which is not surprising because there is a ton of pork in it.

The bill contains $2 billion dollars for “miscellaneous spending.” This is money that is to be earmarked for God-knows-what.

Do they think we are stupid?!

Do they think that they can push $2 billion dollars of miscellaneous spending through without anyone realizing it?

In the coming days, as the legislation moves through committee, there will, without a doubt, be more pork and unnecessary spending added. That is what career politicians do. When they see a piece of must-pass legislation – something Congress cannot afford to not pass – they attach pork to it in order to fund their pet projects.

This all happens in committee. So by the time the bill makes its way to the floor of the House and Senate, it will be loaded with wasteful pork barrel spending. But right now, $2 billion dollars of discretionary “miscellaneous” spending is attached to the bill and that needs to be removed immediately!

I can live with spending money to help our veterans receive the medical care they deserve. But it is UNACCEPTABLE for $2 billion of pork to be added to the bill!

Tell Congress to remove the $2 billion of “miscellaneous” spending from the VA bill and that they are NOT allowed to go on vacation until our vets receive the care they deserve!                                         

The pork part of the bill is only the beginning.

Our veterans have been languishing for years in the VA system. Even before Barack H. Obama became President, there were ridiculously long wait-lists at VA Hospitals.

Then, we learned that veterans were actually dying because VA employees were cooking the books to make themselves look better so they could receive performance bonuses.

This bill does an excellent job addressing those problems.

First, any veteran who experiences these ridiculous wait times can go to a private hospital or doctor to receive treatment on the government’s dime. The federal government will hand out vouchers to make sure that our vets receive timely assistance.

Second, the VA bill would immediately prohibit bonuses to ALL VA employees for the next 2-3 years. This is incredibly important because it takes away the incentive for employees to cook the books and alter medical records.

Third, the bill allows the VA Secretary to fire ANY employee found to be incompetent or corrupt. This is a huge step because previously, bureaucratic tape prevented even the Secretary from firing long-time and high-ranking employees.

And lastly, the new VA bill will provide billions of dollars for the Department to expand and hire new doctors and nurses to meet the needs of our military men and women.

The only problem? This is a HUGE bill and Congress only has FOUR days to pass it before they all go on vacation.

That’s right, there is a significant possibility that Congress will fail to pass the VA bill before the five-week Congressional recess.

It makes me sick to my stomach to think that our Congressmen and Senators would actually leave Washington DC to go on vacation while tens of thousands of veterans are left to suffer without medical care!

Two things have to happen before Friday:

1)    Congress needs to take the pork and unnecessary spending ($2 billion) out of the VA bill!

2)    Congress needs to pass the damn bill before they leave the District of Columbia for vacation!

They have four days to do this, which means we have four days to make sure our representatives understand that delaying this bill is NOT an option!

Tell Congress to remove the $2 billion of “miscellaneous” spending from the VA bill and that they are NOT allowed to go on vacation until our vets receive the care they deserve!                                         

Yes there are a lot of problems in America that require politicians’ attention… Yes, Congressmen and Senators are extremely busy and the process of approving and voting on a bill is a long one…

But I will be DAMNED if I allow these career politicians to jet off to some fancy vacation without giving our veterans the medical care they’ve earned and what they’ve waited years for!

Make no mistake: many politicians think that this bill can wait until after their five-week recess. That couldn’t be farther from the truth!

We are at the home stretch here… These men and women sacrificed themselves for us, now it is time for us to stand up and DEMAND that they receive the benefits they’ve earned! Not in five weeks… they need medical care NOW!

Tell Congress to remove the $2 billion of “miscellaneous” spending from the VA bill and that they are NOT allowed to go on vacation until our vets receive the care they deserve!                                         

Not resting until our vets are cared for,

Joe Otto