The top Republican on the House Committee on Veteran Affairs did not take too kindly to freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-N.Y.) comments on the state of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in a statement to Fox News on Wednesday.
Following Ocasio-Cortez’s claim that the VA provided “some of the highest quality care,” Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) fired back, saying it was “evident she paid little attention” to how the VA has treated veterans in the past.
“Apparently ignorance is bliss when it comes to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and her views of VA,” Roe said. “It is evident that she paid little attention to the scandalous treatment of veterans that occurred several years ago by some in the very agency created to serve them.”
Roe continued on to say that “not all veterans are so lucky” to have top-notch “VA medical facilities” such as the ones in his own district and Ocasio-Cortez’s and blasted the VA’s “failure to properly process their GI Bill benefits”:
“While Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and I have VA medical facilities in and near our districts with great quality ratings, not all veterans are so lucky. That’s not to mention the many student veterans across the nation who struggled to pay their bills last fall due to VA’s failure to properly process their GI Bill benefits, or the many veterans who wait years for decisions on their disability claims.”
The Tennessee Republican then said that those “problems and inconsistencies” were “the definition of a system that needs fixing” and torched Ocasio-Cortez, saying he was “baffled” that she “fail[ed] to see that.”
Roe then went in for the haymaker.
“When you don’t know anything about anything you should probably keep your mouth shut or everyone will know you don’t know anything,” he said.
As IJR Red previously reported, the freshman firebrand confused a few people at a recent speaking event, where she came out against privatizing the VA, claiming the VA provided “some of the highest quality care” to veterans and stating “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Watch the video below:
She went on to claim that those trying to “fix” the VA are “ultimately” doing it “for a for-profit health care industry that does not put people or veterans first.”
As IJR Red also noted, many veterans have had their medical care put on pause because of the bureaucracy surrounding the VA.
Dr. Stewart Levinson — one of the health care providers who blew the whistle on the VA’s subpar care — said in a 2017 interview with the Boston Globe that the conditions at the VA Medical Center in Manchester, New Hampshire, put veterans’ lives in danger when he visited the facility.
The facility was once pegged as a four-star hospital by the Department of Veteran Affairs. Levinson claimed that the bureaucracy surrounding the VA prevented him from being able to fix the issues from within.