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VA funding request requires scrutiny

In Washington, the penalty for shoddy work and sometimes criminal actions too often is more money.

And remember, behind the Beltway, they keep the books in 10- to 12-digit numbers.

Some members of Congress have lost patience with the Department of Veterans Affairs. It appears to have done little to truly improve service to those who served since last year. Then, there was a scandal over veterans seeking health care appointments who were kept waiting for months – and VA officials who tried to cover up that lapse.

More than a year ago, Congress demanded improvements and provided hundreds of millions of dollars to make them. Progress has not been acceptable.

In fact, new VA outrages have come to light. One is construction of a new hospital in Colorado that is hundreds of millions of dollars over budget.

So how are VA officials reacting to angry demands for explanations?

By saying they need $2.5 billion in new funding to handle a sharp increase in the number of veterans seeking care from the agency.

Lawmakers should analyze the numbers. If, indeed, enough new requests for VA help are being received to require a $2.5 billion supplement, of course it should be provided.

But if this is one more case of bureaucratic arrogance, those behind the funding request should be fired.

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