Nonexistent VA Reform Draws Big Cheers

Dave Weigel is attending some Republican town halls today to see what’s on the minds of real Americans in the heartland:


This is a pretty good example of people believing whatever they’re told. Republicans say that they’ve reformed the VA, and everyone cheers. Promise made, promise kept!

So what have Republicans done? You might have missed this, but Congress actually did pass a VA bill a couple of months ago. It allows the head of the VA more latitude in firing workers. Donald Trump, naturally, called it “one of the largest reforms of the VA in its history,” because that’s what Trump calls everything he does, but it was actually a pretty modest and bipartisan bill.

What else have Republicans done? Well, after every other cabinet position had been filled and he had to appoint someone, Trump finally nominated a VA head in January. Was it some toughminded general? Someone who promised to take the place apart brick by brick and put it back together? Nope. It was David Shulkin, who was appointed to the #2 position at the VA two years ago by Barack Obama. Democrats and Republicans both approved him unanimously.

So that’s it. Republicans agreed to promote Obama’s guy at the VA and then wrote a minor reform bill. This is, roughly speaking, nothing. But they say they’ve reformed the VA, so they must have reformed the VA. Who cares if anything actually happened?

MORE HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.