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Ranking Member Walz: Trump Hiring Freeze Hurts VA’s Ability To Purchase Key Medical Devices, Continues To Undermine Veteran Care

Dec 7, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-MN) released the following statement after the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs met in open session to conduct an oversight hearing on the VA Medical/ Surgical Prime Vendor Next Generation (MSPV-NG) program, a program designed to streamline the purchasing of medical devices at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The primary focus of the hearing was on the Government Accountability Office’s report entitled, "Veterans Affairs Contracting: Improvements in Buying Medical and Surgical Supplies Could Yield Cost Savings and Efficiency," which found that VA lacked the leadership, staffing, strategic planning, and resources to undertake a project of this size and scope.

“Based on the testimony of senior VA officials at today’s hearing, it has been made abundantly clear to me and my colleagues that the federal hiring freeze instituted by President Trump has severely undermined VA’s ability to purchase key medical devices and continues to put the healthcare of veterans at risk” Rep. Walz said. “This is an unacceptable betrayal of America’s veterans.”

“Time and again, Secretary Shulkin promised Congress and the veteran community that President Trump’s hiring freeze would not undermine veteran care at VA, however, that is simply not the case. Not only was this program set up for failure from the beginning due to a lack of prioritization from senior VA leadership, it seems as if the Trump Administration and VA are intentionally trying to fail their way to VA privatization. When VA knows the best practices and then deliberately chooses to ignore them, there are few other conclusion we can draw.”

“As a soldier and a veteran, I am extremely disappointed. President Trump and Secretary Shulkin, the buck stops with you and you owe it to our veterans to take immediate steps to make things right.”