Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement today regarding the recently released report from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that found 41,900 mail packages with unprocessed veterans' claims materials backlogged at the Veterans Affairs office in St. Petersburg, FL:
“Once again, the Department of Veterans Affairs has failed to properly serve our nation’s veterans. The thousands of backlogged claims at the St. Petersburg VA is outrageous and intolerable. I hear every day from veterans who will wait years for a decision from the VA on their medical conditions, with the average appeal time being over three-and-a-half years. This is just another example of the lack of transparency and broken bureaucracy found at the VA.
“It is now more important than ever that the accountability measures included in the VA law I helped pass in 2014 are implemented to hold incompetent, negligent and corrupt managers accountable. Furthermore, it is crucial that the VA Accountability Act of 2015 be passed into law this year so that the VA secretary has additional authorities to hold all VA employees accountable. This is one commonsense step we can take to ensure that our veterans receive the care they deserve.
“The incompetence and lack of accountability at the St. Petersburg VA, and at VA facilities around our entire country, is unacceptable. It is our duty as a nation to care for those who have cared for us. We must stand with America’s heroes and put an end to the dysfunction plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs.”