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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Steve Hoffman: Congress abandons veterans just before Memorial Day

Members of Congress were in their districts this Memorial Day, giving speeches about how much they appreciate the sacrifices of service members. But their constituents should take their fine words with more than a grain of salt. Just five days before the holiday, the U.S. Senate passed a measure that will set Veterans Affairs on the road toward privatization and severely undermine veterans’ health care. Congress sent the VA MISSION Act to the president on May 23. The act funnels dollars to the private, for-profit sector. It will promote outsourcing of care now received at the VA, and it will allow a private, corporate-style commission to decide which VA facilities to close.

Nick Etten: Rescue the returned: Medical cannabis could save veterans’ lives

As we take time this Memorial Day weekend to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, we also should remember the men and women of our Armed Forces who fought and returned as living casualties of war. At the core of the American military ethos is a pledge to leave no soldier behind. Yet, too often the soldiers we deploy to fight for our nation come home profoundly different – physically, mentally or emotionally wounded from war. Part of them has been left behind.

Andrew J. Cohen: The VA is working just fine, thank you very much

“A government-run, single-payer, bureaucratic health-care system that doesn’t work.” That’s how Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., described the Department of Veterans Affairs last month on “Meet the Press.” Johnson’s remarks are typical of Republicans in Congress, who have made no secret of their intention to privatize the department. President Donald Trump’s firing of Veterans Affairs Secretary David J. Shulkin constitutes the latest Republican assault on the agency. Shulkin’s poor judgment regarding his well-publicized trip to Europe would not have provided sufficient cause for firing were it not for his well-known opposition to the privatization of VA services. Remember Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s use of government aircraft or EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s need to fly first class?

House panel OKs plan to grow VA private care, a Trump pledge

A House committee approved a wide-ranging plan Tuesday to give veterans more freedom to see doctors outside the Veterans Affairs health system and fix a budget crisis in its troubled Choice private-sector program, a major step toward fulfilling President Donald Trump’s promise to expand private care options.

Trump says Democrat should quit over VA nomination brouhaha

A furious President Donald Trump on Saturday called for the resignation of the Democratic senator who assembled and released what he called “false” allegations that scuttled the nomination of the White House doctor who’d been in line to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Trump’s VA choice bows out in latest Cabinet flame-out

President Donald Trump’s pick to lead Veterans Affairs, Ronny Jackson, withdrew Thursday in the wake of late-surfacing allegations about overprescribing drugs and poor leadership while serving as a top White House doctor, saying the “false allegations” against him have become a distraction.

Trump considers ousting VA secretary in Cabinet shuffle

President Donald Trump is considering ousting embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, who has faced an insurgency within his department and fresh allegations that he used a member of his security detail to run personal errands.

Investigation discovers staff ignored hole in roof for years at VA hospital in Spokane

The slow burn by U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to secure changes for veterans’ care in Spokane just fell through the roof. Literally. Based on complaints funneled through a group of veterans who have protested for a year over a lack of cooperation from the staff at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, McMorris Rodgers asked for staff from the House Veterans Affairs Committee to come to Spokane in June and investigate conditions at the hospital. That probe found an unexpected hole in the roof.

Veterans hospital officials removed over care allegations

Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin has removed two top officials at New Hampshire’s only veterans hospital and ordered a review of the facility starting Monday amid allegations of “dangerously substandard care.”

Trump signs law to make VA more accountable for veterans’ care

Here's the story Searcher referred to in the Wild Card. President Donald Trump signed a bill into law Friday that will make it easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire employees, part of a push to overhaul an agency that is struggling to serve millions of military vets.