Skip to content

Wyoming Delegation concerned VA putting veterans’ lives at risk

After hearing from constituents and reading media reports about the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) not delivering the high quality, prompt care our veterans deserve, U.S. Senators Mike Enzi, John Barrasso and U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis, all R-Wyo., sent a letter to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki regarding the failures of the department and the efforts to “game” the wait time reporting data on how quickly veterans received care.

In the letter, the delegation expressed concerns that the Department of Veterans Affairs is now putting our veterans’ lives at risk. They are requesting the specifics on who was responsible for the actions that led to delayed care and what disciplinary action was taken, if any. 

“It appears that your Department has spent more time covering its own failures than delivering high quality, prompt care to the men and women who bravely served our country,” the senators wrote in the letter. “The reports we have read suggest that your Department has failed to live up to its promised core values of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect, and excellence.”


Bill to block bonuses to IRS employees who break tax law, have tax debt

Enzi joined Senators Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and John Thune, R-S.D., in introducing legislation to prohibit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from providing performance awards to employees who owe outstanding federal tax debt or who have violated U.S. tax law.

“The agency directly entrusted with the mission of making sure Americans pay their taxes should not be rewarding its own employees that are delinquent on their own taxes or have broken the law,” said Enzi. “This revelation just shows how out-of-touch this agency is with the real world and it’s a double standard that should anger every tax payer.”

According to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration on Internal Revenue Service, close to $3 million in bonuses were awarded to IRS staff with violations on their records, with about half of that amount going to people with tax violations on their record.

"Instead of a bonus, they should have been fired for cause. You can’t enforce laws you break," said Enzi.

Other personnel at the IRS received cash bonuses or other awards despite being cited for drug use, making violent threats, fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits, and misusing government credit cards.

In fact, the report indicates that close to 70 percent of IRS personnel receive some sort of performance reward.

NEWS NUGGETS

State Exchange Accountability Act

A few states have wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on failed Obamacare exchanges and the American people are picking up the tab. Enzi joined Senator John Barrasso in introducing the State Exchange Accountability Act to force states that wasted this money to repay the federal government for all of the funding they received.

Enzi introduces amendments to protect states' rights

While the Senate took up an energy efficiency bill, Enziintroduced amendments that would have prohibited the EPA from rejecting or disapproving a state’s regional haze plan and allow states to collect their own mineral royalties. The current Senate majority, which controls the agenda, blocked all amendments to the energy efficiency bill, despite bipartisan solutions that could improve the legislation.

Halt "Water of the US" rule

Enzi joined Senator Barrasso, Representative Lummis, and  43 other Western Caucus Members in sending a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, urging her to halt the “Water of the US” rule that will drastically expand federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act.

"This federal takeover of states’ rights to regulate and protect their own water would hurt job growth by negatively impacting farms, small businesses, commercial development, road construction and energy production," said Enzi.