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?

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more about what makes our work unique—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, highlights some of our team’s great work that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting in his fall membership update.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more about what makes our work unique—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, highlights some of our team’s great work that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting in his fall membership update.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly 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