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Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) released the following statement on the Department of Justice’s decision to not fully defend H.R. 3230, Veterans’ Choice Act passed by Congress to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):

“The Obama Administration has a long history of defending the sprawling, inefficient, and inept federal bureaucracy at the expense of the American people. Now, it’s hurting our veterans. For too long our veterans have not gotten the care they deserve at the VA, enduring long wait times and insufficient care while VA employees and executives cooked the books to cover up the scandal. When Congress passed the Veterans Choice Act, a key provision allowed for incompetent and indifferent executives whose inaction allowed veterans to die to be more easily fired. Now, even after the President signed this provision into law, his Administration is refusing to defend this measure of accountability in the current court action Helman v. the Department of Veterans Affairs. This inaction could allow Sharon Helman—the plaintiff in the case and a now-felon who was in charge of the Phoenix VA when the wait time scandal came to light—to get her job back.

“This decision by the Obama Administration puts our veterans at further risk. We cannot entrust veterans’ health care to people unwilling or unable to do their jobs and to an agency like the VA that is unable to hold people accountable. The Department of Justice must defend the law as written and signed by President Obama.” 

NOTE: The Veterans Choice Act passed the House by a vote of 420–5 on July 30, 2014.