Huelskamp versus VA

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, is among GOP House members dissatisfied with the answers they’re getting about travel and conference spending at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. At a House hearing Wednesday, Huelskamp complained that he’d been waiting 106 days for information about two 2011 Orlando conferences: “This is an issue of competence, the failure to either know the answers or refuse to answer them. It’s about a gentleman in Syracuse, Kan., who had to drive 522 miles to the nearest VA hospital. In that time, you could fly folks to Orlando for a great conference. And you won’t even tell the American people who attended? Either you’re trying to hide something or it’s total incompetence.” VA Deputy Secretary Scott Gould defended the department’s response, telling Huelskamp it had supplied 35,000 documents, answered 6,000 policy questions and attended 100 hearings and 1,100 staff briefings. “Sir,” Gould added, “you can sit here and shake your head, but the reality is there’s a tremendous amount of information that flows to this committee and others on a daily basis by a very competent team.”