This week, the Senate was back in session after a productive
work period in the state. You can visit my and see some of the highlights of my August meetings
and events. Thank you to all of the businesses and groups that
Wednesday, the President shared with the nation his
strategy for handling ISIL. Publically and privately, I have
shared my thoughts on the group -- ISIL is a capable, well
organized, and well financed organization that has taken over more geographic
territory than any terrorist group in recent history. If the
President had taken decisive action to address this threat in its
infancy, we would not be facing the extremist army that is overrunning Iraq
today. They cannot be simply contained or maintained � they must
be totally eliminated.
On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on
Veterans� Affairs held a hearing on the �State of VA Health Care�
focusing on the most recent IG report, released last month, on the
problems at the Phoenix VA facility. This hearing was also a follow up
to one held in July with the same title.
During my opening
statement, I noted two particular pieces in the IG report � first,
that the report outlines a lack of follow-up, coordination, quality, and
continuity of care of veterans at the Phoenix facility and secondly
-- the most troubling piece -- the VA's awareness of the ongoing
scheduling challenges that many facilities faced. Read my opening
After each of our opening
statements were read, the committee heard from Richard Griffin, acting
Inspector General for VA.
You can watch my full
exchange with Richard Griffin or by clicking below.
We also heard from Secretary Robert McDonald, who
was confirmed at the end of July. I was especially interested in
hearing his plans to change the culture at VA and how he would
measure that change. You can see his answer, along with the full
exchange, by clicking or below.
I cosponsored that would increase veterans� benefits to keep up with
the cost of living passed the Senate by unanimous consent. There
is no group of Americans to whom we owe more than our nation�s
veterans. It is our responsibility to ensure that we provide them with
the benefits and services they need and deserve. Read more
Finally, this week, our nation
somberly remembered the 13th anniversary of 9/11. You can
read my remarks