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“New leadership is necessary to change the harmful culture towards our veterans at the VA. The interim report released today by the Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General confirms allegations that employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) manipulated patient wait times in order to attempt to project positive performance standards. But these positive reviews on paper masked the reality that our local veterans were facing. Initial complaints of extended wait times for veterans at the Los Angeles VA medical center were brought to my attention by countless veterans since I began serving in the House of Representatives. After personally investigating the matter and requesting the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to audit major VA medical centers across the country, it was discovered in early 2013 that the scheduling policy in place at the VA was and is inherently flawed and is not representative of the actual wait times that veterans are enduring. The problems within the VA are rooted in bureaucracy, and even after GAO audits and congressional testimony in 2013 and years prior, the VA refused to fix their errors. As a result, veterans that fought with great pride and courage for our country died unnecessarily. This national embarrassment must be reformed immediately and until new leadership is in place at the VA, Congress must lead this effort. The House will continue its work to ensure our veterans receive the health care they deserve.”