The Trump transition team has been hard at work putting together the cabinet that president-elect Trump will rely on to guide the country according to his policies. As of Friday, the president-elect has tapped Senator Jeff Sessions for to head the Justice Department as AG and Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo for top spy at the CIA. For the other postings, some whispers have Mitt Romney for Secretary of State and Goldman Sachs alum Steven Mnuchin for Treasury. As the days continue, more cabinet slots will be officially filled but the speculation has garnered the media’s attention since even before Trump’s win last week.
Included in the vetting process is who president-elect Trump will tap to take over the controversy-mired Veterans Affairs, a post now held by former Procter & Gamble CEO (and ‘75 West Point grad), Robert “Bob” McDonald. According to early speculation, eyes are on retiring US congressman from Florida’s 1st district, Jefferson Miller.
Jeff Miller has been in government since 1984. Having been elected to Florida’s House of Representatives in 1998, he then won election to the US House of Representatives in 2001, and has been reelected six times. Congressman Miller has chaired the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and has been since 2011.
As he is being considered for the VA’s top spot, I thought it prudent to list some of the bills he has sponsored as it relates to veterans. Click the below links for the full text of each bill.
H.R. 4031 – Department of Veteran Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014: This bill arose after the 2014 scandal where veterans died because of waiting lists which were hidden from by senior officials at the VA. This bill would allow the VA secretary to remove the individual from Federal service; or (2) transfer the individual to a General Schedule position at any grade of the General Schedule the Secretary determines appropriate.
H.R. 4810 – Veteran Access to Care Act of 2014: Congressman Miller also sponsored this bill which would allow the VA secretary to enter into contracts with non-VA facilities to provide necessary care and medical services to limit the wait time and inconvenience of distance to eligible veterans.
H.R. 2189: This bill creates a task force to evaluate the backlog of disability claims and analyze potential improvements to submit to the secretary, requiring the implementation of solutions deemed appropriate by the secretary and to submit justification to Congress on those not implemented.
These are just a few of the bills that Congressman Miller has sponsored for the improvement of the lives of veterans in this country. He has come out recently lambasting the VA, stating its officials are “hiding behind a litany of excuses” in an August Op-Ed for InsideSources. He went on to say VA officials “haven’t learned much from the wait-time scandal that shook VA to its foundations and forced the resignation of former Secretary Eric Shinseki”.
Obviously, the post for VA secretary has not officially been filled yet but it would appear that Congressman Jeff Miller would be a good fit and might even enact the changes this government agency and veterans so desperately need. These changes will take time and real political and administrative muscle. The millions of veterans who have served faithfully deserve the effort. Let’s hope Congressman Miller is granted the time and more importantly the congressional support to ensure this overhaul takes shape. If not, Congressman Miller will be sacrificed on the VA altar while the American veteran remains a pawn in the ongoing political posturing in the Beltway. Let’s hope president-elect Trump plans real change where it counts for these men and women and not just more partisan rhetoric, actual lives are counting on it.