McConnell Rails Against VA Backlog

Jul 22, 2013

Credit official photo, public domain

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says President Obama needs to personally address the backlog of disability claims handled by the Veterans Affairs Department. McConnell made the remarks at a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Louisville.

"Let me tell you the size of this problem is a national disgrace," McConnell said.

The Kentucky Republican told convention-goers Monday the problem demands attention from the top of the command chain. The VA pays disability benefits to veterans who are injured or become ill as a result of their active service, but as of late March, about 70 percent of claims were pending longer than 125 days.

"Today the average waiting time for a veteran who has filed a claim is nearly a year and more than 750,000 veterans are literally stuck in this backlog," the senator said.

Though the problem predates Obama's arrival in office, the administration’s response hasn’t satisfied many critics. White House press secretary Jay Carney has said the president is "deadly serious" about wiping out the massive backlog by 2015.