The newest scandal coming out of Washington isn't a manufactured political story, but rather a legit issue. Many are pointing their finger in blame, but a new report shows that the blame needs to be placed in a variety of places.
When the story broke of a cover up of extended waiting times at a VA hospital in Arizona that allegedly resulted in 40 deaths, the White House and the media scrambled to get the facts straight and frame the story. Not surprisingly, Republicans and the right wing media have placed 100 percent of the blame on the doorstep of President Obama and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. According to the Washington Times, a memo obtained via a request from the Freedom of Information Act shows that issues at the VA and hospitals date back to 2005 during the Bush administration. The memo further notes that there were nine recommendations made to the Bush administration but no action was taken.
"The memos state that the issues within the VA department dated back to the second term of President George W. Bush, when inspector general audits dating back to 2005 uncovered problems. Nine recommendations total were given, but none were incorporated by the time Bush left office."
Following the 2008 election of President Obama, the administration were warned not to trust the reported wait times at the VA hospital, but it is unclear what actions the current administration has taken.
The VA scandal does cross over through both political parties and their electorate as outrage has poured out from both sides of the aisle. The memo contradicts what the White House reports that President Obama didn't hear of the issues at the VA until the story broke, but since then, White House deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors has been sent to Phoenix to check the validity of claims of a cover up leading to veteran deaths.
It is clear that something needs to be done and there needs to be accountability across the board. As Commander in Chief, President Obama has to take some blame, but blame needs to also be put on the Republicans in congress who earlier this year voted against a bill that would have expanded health care and education access to veterans and provide funding for the creation of 27 new medical facilities. When placing blame, the finger shouldn't just be pointed in the direction of President Obama, but also at congress and the former administration that was previously in the White House.