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Public Statements

Military Construction And Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2010

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. ALTMIRE. Let me thank Chairman Edwards for the excellent work he's done on this important bill, which funds our military construction projects and provides for the benefits and assistance that our Nation's veterans have so clearly earned.

It's out of concern for our Nation's veterans, specifically veterans in my home region of western Pennsylvania, that I requested this colloquy.

Pittsburgh's Veterans Benefits Administration employees are alleged to have manipulated an employee bonus reward system by delaying processing veterans' claims to my district to secure additional employee bonuses.

I yield to the distinguished gentleman from Texas (Mr. Edwards).

Mr. EDWARDS of Texas. I'm familiar with the unfortunate situation that occurred in Pittsburgh. There was a report issued by the Office of Inspector General, correct?

Mr. ALTMIRE. That's right. I thank the chairman for his awareness of our concerns, and I would comment that this report issued by the Inspector General was insufficient given the gravity of these allegations. It failed to determine the sources of the problem. And I would suggest the Office of the Inspector General should conduct a second investigation of the Pittsburgh Veterans Benefits Administration employee misconduct in delaying benefit processing to receive bonuses and submit a more thorough report.

And this strikes me as particularly possible in light of the $19 million increase in the Inspector General's budget from last year.

I would yield again to the chairman.

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