OPINION: By Shortchanging Veterans Homes, Biden’s VA Has Failed Our Veterans

Monday March 25, 2024


By Shortchanging Veterans Homes, Biden’s VA Has Failed Our Veterans

By Governor Brad Little

U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

U.S. Senator Jim Risch

U.S. Congressman Mike Simpson

U.S. Congressman Russ Fulcher

As elected leaders who work regularly with and in the federal government, we’re never really surprised when the feds go back on their word.

However, it is shocking when the federal government pulls the rug out from under our Veterans, who have served courageously for our country and deserve our support.

That’s exactly what Biden’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) did to Idaho Veterans and Veterans across the country. The VA approved Idaho and other states for grant funding to build and renovate Veterans homes and then yanked it, even after the states, including Idaho, put up significant resources of their own to get the projects going.

That means the construction and renovation of Veterans homes in Boise, Pocatello, and Lewiston now face significant hurdles and cost increases to get to the finish line, if we can even get there.

Veterans homes are exactly that – a home where our Veterans can live comfortably, share in camaraderie with other Veterans, and receive the healthcare they need after serving our nation and its people.

The State of Idaho was approved for grants from the VA to fund improvements to Veterans homes. Then, out of nowhere, the VA told Idaho and other states our funding was dependent on compliance with a separate law passed AFTER the grants were approved.

This is a classic example of the federal government moving the goal posts midgame, and this time, the losers are our Veterans.

Congress empowered federal agencies to issue waivers so states would not have to restructure bids and delay progress on needed projects.

In fact, the Biden Administration has issued numerous waivers for other projects related to transportation, housing, agriculture, and even for electric vehicle chargers. But not for Veterans.

That’s right. You didn’t read that wrong. The Biden Administration is supporting electric vehicles over Veterans.

Idaho Veterans should be outraged. Idahoans who support Veterans should be outraged.

Our congressional delegation has a solution: the Waiving Arbitrary and Inconsistent Veteran home Eligibility Requirements (WAIVER) Act. This legislative fix would require the Secretary of the VA to award the waivers for states like Idaho. That means construction on the Boise, Pocatello, and Lewiston Veterans homes could be back on track if Congress and the president act swiftly.

We shouldn’t have to do it this way. The VA secretary already has the ability to grant the waivers but just won’t.

The VA should do the right thing and keep its word to our Veterans by granting the waivers now.

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