Reed, Robertson Trade Accusations Over VA Scandal

(WETM-18) – The VA scandal continues to cause controversy locally with a back and forth of accusations between Rep. Tom Reed and Martha Robertson.

Reed and Robertson continue to hit each other over the VA scandal. It began after comments Robertson made at a rally Sunday in Seneca Falls. “We see that it's not a matter of the care that they get once they get access to the care,” said Robertson Sunday. “There's no question that they are getting quality care and responsive care once they're in the system. This is a problem of decades of underfunding the system altogether.”

Congressman Reed says that calling the system underfunded isn’t accurate. A Politifact article agrees. “The VA is fully funded,” said Reed in Corning Wednesday. “They’re actually up 256% in their funding levels. Their staffing levels are up 52%. Last year they ended the year with $450 million left in the bank at the end of the year.”

Reed says he feels the VA scandal paints a troubling picture if the country adopts a single-payer health care system, which Robertson has said she supports. “I think this is the canary in the coal mine, the VA situation, that says that’s the wrong path, the wrong future for America,” said Reed.

But Robertson says Reed has a record of voting against the interests of veterans, saying through e-mail Wednesday, "Congressman Reed has one of the most shameful records in Congress when it comes to standing up for New York’s veterans and once again, voters should watch what he has done, not what he says,” said Robertson. “Congressman Reed has hurt veterans with a stunning series of votes against reducing the VA backlog, funding to process more disability claims for wounded warriors, medical and prosthetic research, medical services for post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide prevention, and homeless programs for veterans. Despite paying himself for the period covering the government shutdown he led, Tom Reed voted to deny veterans benefits during the same shutdown. Voters will have a clear choice this November, I will fight to make sure the sacrifices our veterans made for this country are honored, not deserted."

Reed says most of the votes Robertson is referring to were called Motions to Recommit. “Which is inside the Beltway, DC talk that they engage in on the other side of the aisle, to use procedure, to use political, just bluster, to try and create a record to mislead people,” said Reed. “Our record is clear. I have a dedicated staffer in our office that attends to veteran's benefits and veterans. They know they can call, and we're going to be there.”

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