California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House’s incoming majority leader, argued Wednesday that the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs is in desperate need of an update.
“Created in 1930, Veterans Affairs is an 84-year-old bureaucracy that hasn’t adapted to a 21st century world,” McCarthy wrote in an op-ed for USA Today, particularly criticizing the 25-year old scheduling problem and paper claims process.
The VA has been marred by scandal since the spring when allegations surfaced that some veterans were waiting months to receive care. As many as 40 veterans died while allegedly waiting for medical care at the Phoenix VA and countless names were left off waiting lists in an apparent attempt to obscure the poor situation.
McCarthy said bureaucracy at the VA stands in the way of progress.
“We can track packages in real time, cash checks, and look up traffic all from our phones, but the VA is stuck in the old-tech, slow, and opaque system of yesteryear,” McCarthy wrote. “A generation into the information age, the bureaucracy of the VA remains impenetrable.”
Congressional Democrats have called for increased funding for the VA to address the department’s myriad problems, but Republicans have resisted those calls.
“The VA is steeped in a culture of ambivalence coupled with a lack of accountability, and no amount of funding can fix those problems,” he wrote. “Only thorough modernization and a change in culture can fix the VA.”