Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, skipped a key Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Committee hearing in 2012 on the same day he had a fundraiser, again raising questions about his commitment to veterans’ issues, Republicans say.
The GOP had already pounced on Braley for missing a hearing held by the full House VA Committee on Sept. 20, 2012, where lawmakers discussed long wait times for veterans’ mental health care, the backlog of disability claims, and the stewardship of VA funding. He also attended three fundraisers that day.
Government records show that Braley, this year’s Democratic Senate candidate in Iowa, also missed a VA hearing on Feb. 15, 2012. Then VA Secretary Eric Shinseki discussed the department’s 2013 budget request at the meeting.
Braley was scheduled to attend a breakfast fundraiser that morning with several union PACs, according to the Sunlight Foundation. The fundraiser was scheduled to end at 9:30 a.m., while the hearing began at 10:31.
Republicans again pointed to Braley’s absence at the hearing as evidence that he failed to take VA issues seriously before details emerged of a national scandal at medical centers. Shinseki resigned in May following multiple reports of VA employees who falsified patient records to conceal long wait times at facilities.