Veterans Affairs boss asks veteran ‘What have you done?’

February 13, 2015

Washington, DC – During a discussion over a long-delayed hospital project, Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald asked Representative Mike Coffman what he has done to be able to criticize the project.

The VA hospital project in Denver is hundreds of millions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule. When the Secretary was criticized over the project, he responded by attacking the representative.

 “I’ve run a large company, sir. What have you done?”

The failed hospital project is in Coffman’s district, which alone would be enough of a reason to question the project. He’s also on the Veterans Affairs Committee and the Armed Services Committee, but Coffman has another qualification. He’s a veteran. He didn’t just do his obligatory four-year-stint to make himself more appealing to voters, either.

In 1972, he dropped out of high school during the Vietnam War to join the US Army. He bounced between the Army and the Marine Corp until 1994 when he retired. Along the way he received his diploma and a college degree. He also fought in the first Gulf War. That certainly qualifies him to question the VA, but there’s more. In 2006, when the US was having a hard time recruiting officers, Coffman returned to active duty and took a combat deployment in Iraq.

Since then, he has been reelected four times to the U.S. Congress.

Coffman was apparently unwilling to respond to the Secretary’s personal attack during the hearing, but later he said:

“I have never run a federal agency that tolerates corruption the way the VA has. I’ve never built a hospital that’s years behind schedule and hundreds of millions over budget. And I’ve never been a shill for inept bureaucrats who allowed American heroes to die on a medical waiting list.”

Veterans’ groups have asked the Secretary to apologize.

So Secretary, in comparison to Coffman, what have you done?