GOP Lawmakers Not Happy With VA's Accounting of $6.3M for Brain Injury Research

Republican lawmakers are not satisfied with Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki's explanation of how $6.3 million committed to researching the traumatic brain injuries suffered by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan was spent, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.

Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and Rep. Brad Miller, D-N.C., chairman of the Investigations Subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee, had asked Shinseki to provide a detailed accounting after the director of a now-defunct Texas research facility that was supposed to get the money charged that $2 million of the $6.3 million had been improperly diverted, the newspaper reported.

Shinseki told the lawmakers in a letter that about $3.4 million of the $6.3 million was spent on "lease payments, operation expenses, staff salaries and the relocation."

The secretary added that $450,000 of the remaining $2.9 million will be used to establish treatment protocols at the new location in Waco, Texas, the newspaper said.

But the lawmakers called Shinseki's explanation insufficient.

"We're reviewing the VA's response but remain concerned that VA hasn't explained why or how, after seven years, the $6 million Congress appropriated for traumatic brain injury research hasn't been used to conduct that critical research," Burr spokesman David Ward told the newspaper.

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