Good morning Legionnaires and veterans advocates, right now is Thursday, November 8, 2018 which is Nationwide Harvey Wallbanger Day, Nationwide Dunce Day, Prepare dinner One thing Daring Day and Nationwide Ample Time Day.
This Day in Legion Historical past:
- Nov. 8, 1944: Germans seize, pillage and set ablaze the French city of St. Die-des-Vosges, the place a delegation of 200 Legionnaires had unveiled a plaque in 1921 commemorating the place the place the time period “America” was first revealed on a map in 1507. Every week after the German rampage six months earlier than the top of World Struggle II, American troops arrived to seek out the ruins, adopted later by most of the ladies and youngsters of the city who had been left homeless and have been ravenous. Upon studying this, American Legion posts and models all through america gather lots of of packages of meals, clothes and provides and ship it urgently to the city.
- Nov. 8, 2002: The American Legion launches the “I Am Not a Number” marketing campaign to gather testimonies from veterans ready lengthy durations of time for VA health-care appointments and advantages selections. Greater than 5,000 private testimonials pour into Nationwide Headquarters, and their accounts assist launch the nationwide System Value Saving program.
This Day in Historical past:
- 1965: For motion this present day within the Iron Triangle northwest of Saigon, Specialist 5 Lawrence Joel, a medic with the first Battalion, 503rd Airborne Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade earns the Medal of Honor, turning into the primary dwelling African American because the Spanish-American Conflict to obtain the nation’s highest award for valor.
- On this present day in 1775, Basic George Washington seeks to resolve a number of issues dealing with the military: methods to encourage skilled troops to enlist, the right way to assemble a succesful officer corps and the best way to overcome provincial variations and rivalries. Describing the issues, he wrote, “Connecticut wants no Massachusetts man in her corps. Massachusetts thinks there is no necessity for a Rhode Islander…”
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
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Protection Information: Election to shake up Home and Senate armed providers committees
By: Joe Gould 16 hours in the past
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WASHINGTON — Past GOP Home Armed Providers Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry handing the gavel to the panel’s prime Democrat, Rep. Adam Smith, anticipate a serious reshuffling in center administration on the panel and on its Senate counterpart.
The place Thornberry, R-Texas, has been a staunch advocate of protection spending will increase, Smith has been a critic, notably on nuclear weapons, who’s promised stricter oversight of abroad army operations. Tuesday’s Democratic victory within the Home means management swaps can be occurring in dozens of the chamber’s committees and subcommittees.
Inside the HASC, chairmanships of the Tactical Air & Land and Readiness sub-panels are up for grabs. TAL’s rating member, Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass., is retiring, whereas Readiness rating member Rep. Madeleine Bordallo, D-Guam, misplaced to a main challenger.
It’s to be decided which Democrats will transfer up the ranks into these spots and who will take the spots these ascending lawmakers vacate, as panel management sometimes makes these bulletins in December or in January, when the brand new Congress is seated.
Acquainted leaders like TAL Chairman Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, are anticipated to turn into the sub-panel’s rating members. Likewise Readiness chairman Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C.; Strategic Forces chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., and Seapower chairman Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va.
Who fills the footwear of Tsongas and Bordallo might be necessary for the portfolios they handle—but in addition because the Pentagon addresses a spate of aviation mishaps and pushes to repair plane mission-capable charges.
As roughly a dozen lawmakers from each events who’re departing the HASC, turnover on the committee shall be amplified as members choose to go away for different committees, as is typical in a brand new Congress, and because the Democrats achieve new seats on the panel.
Republicans should decide who shall be their rating member on the Army Personnel Subcommittee. Its chairman, Colorado Republican Rep. Mike Coffman, misplaced in a district Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gained in 2016.
On the Senate aspect, Democrats are anticipated to jockey for management positions with the departure of Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill and Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee.
As of Wednesday, it was unclear whether or not Florida Sen. Invoice Nelson, the SASC’s No. 2 Democrat and chairman of its cyber subcommittee, will maintain his seat. Some 30,000 votes seem to separate the three-term incumbent from his GOP opponent, Gov. Rick Scott—and Nelson has requested for a recount.
Stripes: Democrats achieve management of key Home army, vet committees
By CLAUDIA GRISALES AND NIKKI WENTLING | STARS AND STRIPES
Revealed: November 7, 2018
WASHINGTON – The destiny of an ongoing army buildup, struggle oversight, veterans affairs and selections on who can enlist within the service now rests with a cut up Congress following the outcomes of Tuesday’s midterm elections.
By early Wednesday, Democrats gained management of the Home, shifting management of key committees that direct army and veteran points. Nevertheless, Republicans retained management of the Senate.
One supporter of the Democratic shift recommended lawmakers might lastly set up new ranges of oversight on President Donald Trump’s rising record of calls for for the army.
“You are going to see us put the reins on Donald Trump,” stated Jon Soltz, chairman of progressive political group VoteVets, which supported a slate of Democratic army veterans operating for workplace. “You will see more priorities that Democrats will focus on,” reminiscent of addressing an finish recreation to the abroad wars, revamping the president’s conflict powers, boosting oversight of operations in Yemen and elsewhere and defending veterans higher.
With a whole lot of congressional seats contested within the midterm elections, Republican management of the Home and Senate was in query. Polls steered Democrats had an excellent probability at gaining management of the Home, however much less so within the Senate.
By Wednesday afternoon, The Related Press stated Democrats seemed to regulate the Home by 220 to 193 seats, with almost two dozen races but to be determined.
“From tonight’s results, it is clear that Americans are hungry for a change in leadership and a new tone in politics,” stated Emily Cherniack, founder and government director of bipartisan political group New Politics.
All 435 seats within the Home and 35 of the Senate’s 100 seats have been up for grabs. With Republicans underneath menace, each events ramped up their marketing campaign efforts.
Trump held 50 rallies for Republicans whereas former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and leisure mogul Oprah Winfrey made appearances for Democrats in hotly contested districts and voter turnout reached unprecedented ranges in aggressive races throughout the nation.
Within the warmth of the wrestle, some Democratic lawmakers laid out a technique for army points ought to they achieve management.
Rep. Adam Smith of Washington state, the rating Democrat for the Home Armed Providers Committee who gained re-election Tuesday, is poised to take the helm of the committee. Smith had stated forward of Tuesday’s elections that protection spending, elevated oversight and thwarting limits on who can serve within the army can be prime priorities.
“I think the biggest difference will probably be more oversight,” Smith had stated. “We’re not clear exactly where this administration is going with the military.”
Management shifts for key committees
With Democrats capturing management of the Home, they take over management of the important thing Home committees of Armed Providers, Veterans Affairs and Appropriations. The Armed Providers Committee helps form coverage and spending on the Pentagon, whereas the Veterans Affairs committee handles points dealing with former servicemembers and the Appropriations Committee directs funding to the Pentagon.
Jeremy Teigen, a political science professor at Ramapo School of New Jersey, advised lawmakers – even in a cut up Congress – will nonetheless draw extra bipartisanship efforts, particularly for veterans affairs.
“It’s important to remember that the while the people who tend to serve on the Veterans Affairs committees and those that become chairs tend to be military veterans. It’s not like the parties have very different views on veterans policies,” corresponding to schooling and different veteran advantages, stated Teigen, writer of the guide “Why Veterans Run: Military Service in American Presidential Elections, 1789-2016.” “This is one area of politics where the parties have very warm accord.”
Nevertheless, whereas there could be extra disagreements with regards to the Armed Providers committees in each chambers, there’s nonetheless quite a lot of settlement, Teigen stated.
“It will certainly be less bipartisan than the warm accord in the veterans affairs committees but nowhere near as contentious as you will find in other parts” of Capitol Hill, he stated.
With Smith slated to be chairman of the Home Armed Providers Committee, he could possibly be swapping spots with the present Republican chairman of the panel. Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry, who was re-elected Tuesday, might transfer into a brand new position because the panel’s rating Republican subsequent yr.
A minimum of a dozen lawmakers are slated to go away their roles on the Home Armed Providers committee, together with a number of retiring members and a few who misplaced their bids for re-election similar to Oklahoma Republican Rep. Steve Russell. However a number of key members of the Home and Senate armed providers panels gained re-election, together with Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., and Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., and Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y
Within the higher chamber, Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., is predicted to stay in his position as chairman of the Senate Armed Providers Committee. Inhofe took the seat after the dying of Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain in August.
Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., the rating Democrat on the Senate Armed Providers Committee, stated forward of the elections that there would nonetheless be loads of continuity on protection issues even when Democrats took management. Reed, who’s in a present time period that ends in 2020, pointed to help for the Nationwide Protection Authorization Act, or NDAA, the laws that dictates Pentagon insurance policies and spending.
As an alternative, Reed stated the most important problem would possible be the so-called sequestration – automated, across-the-board finances cuts. These spending restrictions can be triggered if Congress can’t attain a deal subsequent yr to carry them.
“The last year, the votes in both chambers were overwhelming bipartisan,” Reed had stated. “So, I don’t think they shift dramatically because the same leadership that was behind the support of the issues – the NDAA – would be in the leadership in the House and the Senate next year.”
There’s additionally Democratic opposition to a Trump-driven plan to create a pricey department of the army referred to as Area Pressure to deal with protection for space-based endeavors. The transfer would value about $13 billion for 10 years, Reed stated.
“Space Force, to me, would be not the most effective way to deal with these issues,” Reed stated earlier this yr. “Perhaps the model is not a Space Force, but something along the lines of Cyber Command, where you don’t have a special service, but what you have is a unified effort by all the services.”
Takano poised to steer VA committee
With management of the Home switching to Democrats, Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., is trying to grow to be the subsequent chairman of the Home Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Takano gained re-election Tuesday towards his Republican challenger, Aja Smith.
Takano has already laid out his priorities for the committee if he have been to take over as chairman. They embrace stopping the deportation of veterans and establishing simpler citizenship procedures for immigrant servicemembers. He needs to fill the tens of hundreds of vacancies throughout the Division of Veterans Affairs and cease for-profit schools from concentrating on and dishonest veterans.
For the previous two years, with a Congress and White Home led by Republicans, the Home and Senate veterans affairs committees have pushed by means of main bipartisan reforms, from increasing veterans’ schooling advantages to overhauling the VA’s private-sector well being care packages and giving VA leaders extra authority to fireside their staff.
With the chambers now cut up, they’re more likely to expertise gridlock.
In a speech to the American Legion in August, Takano vowed to work with Republicans and VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. Nevertheless, one in every of his prime priorities – veteran deportation and citizenship for immigrant servicemembers – is a subject that Republicans in Congress have been unwilling to deal with.
Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Home Committee of Veterans’ Affairs, will maintain his seat after defeating his Democratic challenger by a large margin. 9 different Republicans on the committee gained Tuesday. One Republican member – Rep. Bruce Poliquin – remained in a decent race early Wednesday morning towards his opponent, Iraq Conflict veteran Jared Golden.
One longtime congressman, Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., misplaced to first-time political candidate and Iraq Struggle veteran Jason Crow. Coffman, who was looking for a sixth time period within the Home, is a member of the Home Armed Providers and VA committees.
Three Democrats on the Home Committee on Veterans’ Affairs didn’t search re-election. Rep. Tim Walz gained the Minnesota gubernatorial race Tuesday, Rep. Beto O’Rourke, additionally a member of the Armed Providers Committee, misplaced his race to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Rep. Elizabeth Esty is leaving Congress following a harassment scandal together with her chief of employees. All different Democrats on the committee will maintain their seats.
Jon Tester, a senator since 2007, appeared to win a decent race Wednesday towards Republican Matt Rosendale in a hard-fought race in Montana. An upset would go away a gap on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, on which Tester serves because the rating Democrat. Working with Republicans and Democrats the previous two years, Tester was a prime decision-maker on veterans points and helped shepherd a number of main, bipartisan VA reforms by means of Congress.
The Montana race was one of the intently watched on this election, with Trump touring to the state 4 occasions since July. He repeatedly went after Tester – at rallies and by way of Twitter – for his position in toppling Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson’s nomination to be secretary of the Division of Veterans Affairs. Trump accused Tester of main a “Democrat mob” to “destroy” Jackson. Nevertheless, Trump acknowledged throughout one rally in October that Jackson might not have been certified for the job.
Tester fought Trump’s assaults, arguing he fulfilled his constitutional duty to vet the nominee. Tester voted to verify Trump’s second nominee, Robert Wilkie.
On Wednesday, Trump congratulated Tester throughout a raucous press convention.
New Congress, new challenges
Lawmakers might want to handle spending caps slated to return for the 2020 fiscal yr beneath the Price range Management Act, or BCA, which might minimize the price range to $576 billion.
That may be a dramatic slash from an preliminary Pentagon price range that stated spending would must be $733 billion within the new fiscal yr that begins Oct. 1, 2019.
Democrats might thwart Trump-led plans for a spending spree for “low-yield” nukes, the creation of a brand new, the Area Drive effort, increase oversight in army operations home and overseas, and push for laws revamping the president’s struggle powers.
Smith stated Democrats additionally shall be eager to deal with new Trump limits on who’s eligible to serve within the army. Smith prompt discrimination has been driving efforts to dam sure recruits to serve, together with immigrants and transgender people.
Democrats could make “sure we don’t allow bigotry to get in the way of people serving the country,” Smith stated.
Army Occasions: The variety of vets in Congress seems headed down once more
By: Leo Shane III 22 hours in the past
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WASHINGTON — After Tuesday’s midterm contests, the variety of feminine veterans and youthful veterans in Congress are rising however the general variety of veterans in Congress stays on a gentle decline.
In a contentious election which noticed Democrats take over the Home and Republicans add to their majority within the Senate, 77 veterans gained elections throughout the nation. Mixed with 15 incumbent veterans within the Senate who didn’t face election, that ensures at the very least 92 veterans shall be a part of the 116th session of Congress in January.
As of Wednesday morning, 10 races involving veteran candidates have been nonetheless undecided. If all of these veterans have been to win — an unlikely state of affairs, given the unofficial outcomes at press time — that might nonetheless solely match the 102 veterans who have been in workplace firstly of the 115th session.
Nonetheless, Veterans Marketing campaign Government Director Seth Lynn stated he sees loads of positives in Tuesday’s midterm outcomes for veteran candidates.
“We saw an uptick in the number of non-incumbent veterans who got major party nominations this cycle,” he stated. “We had an uptick in the number of women veterans. And we have a huge cohort of incoming veterans now.
“We’re seeing more of the younger veterans taking their place in Congress.”
Of the 77 election-night winners, 17 of them are new candidates. Lynn stated that’s the most important class of freshman veteran lawmakers since 2010.
Virtually half of the veterans in Congress in January might be people who served after Sept. 11, 2001. Of the 92, 25 are Democrats and 67 are Republicans.
Tuesday’s class of latest veterans consists of three Democratic feminine veterans. Mikie Sherrill, who gained a New Jersey congressional seat, is a former Navy helicopter pilot.
Chrissy Houlahan, who gained in Pennsylvania, is an Air Pressure vet whose household boasts a number of army members. New Virginia Rep. Elaine Luria narrowly defeated fellow Navy veteran Rep. Scott Taylor in a key swing race for her celebration.
They’ll be a part of three incumbent feminine veterans — Democratic Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Democratic Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth, and Republican Sen. Joni Ernst — and probably one different incumbent. Arizona Republican Rep. Martha McSally’s race for her state’s Senate seat stays too near declare a victor.
The brand new class of veterans consists of a number of names who’ve already drawn nationwide consideration.
Texas Republican Dan Crenshaw, who misplaced an eye fixed whereas serving in Afghanistan, was lampooned final weekend on “Saturday Night Live” for his damage, prompting an outpouring of conservative anger towards the comedy present. He had been main within the polls previous to the controversy, however now enjoys even bigger identify recognition as he heads to Congress.
New Florida Republican Rep. Michael Waltz is a inexperienced beret and commentator for Fox Information. Colorado Democratic Rep. Jason Crow, a outstanding speaker on the social gathering’s 2012 nationwide conference, upset fellow Military veteran Mike Coffman, an incumbent consultant.
The whole variety of veterans in Congress has been on a gentle decline because the 1970s, when almost three-fourths of lawmakers had served within the army.
Lynn stated he’s optimistic that Tuesday’s outcomes present that decline isn’t assured to persist, even when the quantity didn’t improve this cycle. However he additionally stated a return to the earlier highs of previous many years is unlikely, given the a lot smaller proportion of veterans in America because the begin of the all-volunteer Military.
Army Occasions: DoD drops border deployment identify, not calling it ‘Faithful Patriot’
By:Kyle Rempfer 17 hours in the past
The Pentagon is not utilizing its identify for the U.S. army mission on the southern border, army officers stated Wednesday.
“Operation Faithful Patriot” was the identify for the deployment of at the least 5,000 active-duty troops at ports of entry alongside three border states.
A Pentagon spokesman advised Army Occasions that there will probably be “no official name change,” however division officers “are not calling it ‘Operation Faithful Patriot’ ” anymore.
“We are merely referring to it as border support,” the spokesman stated.
The change was determined by Protection Secretary James Mattis’ workplace and was issued on Election Day, army officers informed the Wall Road Journal.
Mattis and different Protection Division leaders have persistently pushed again towards allegations that the deployment of active-duty troops is politically motivated, or that it’s associated to the 2018 midterm elections.
“We don’t do stunts,” Mattis stated final week.
Officers advised the Wall Road Journal that a potential cause for the identify change is to extra precisely mirror the mission to help one other authorities company, relatively than conduct an operation underneath fight.
The U.S. troops deployed to the border are working in Texas, Arizona and California in anticipation of caravans of migrants and would-be asylum seekers, most of whom are from Central America, journeying by way of Mexico to the U.S.
Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the top of U.S. Northern Command, is commanding the army operation.
“We’ve seen clearly an organization at a higher level than we’ve seen before,” O’Shaughnessy stated of the migrant caravan. “We’ve seen violence coming out of the caravan and we’ve seen as they’ve passed other international borders, we’ve seen them behave in a nature that has not been what we’ve seen in the past.”
In Mexico, members of the caravans of migrants are weighing whether or not to remain in Mexico or full the trek to the U.S. border, the Related Press reported Wednesday. Many are pausing in Mexico Metropolis for a relaxation as they determine what to do.
Mexico has provided refuge, asylum or work visas to the migrants and the federal government stated 2,697 momentary visas had been issued to people and households to cowl them whereas they anticipate the 45-day software course of for a extra everlasting standing, AP reported.
Past Sen. Jon Kyl — who is predicted to fill the late John McCain’s U.S. Senate seat solely till January — there could also be different arrivals and departures with the routine reshuffling between committees that’s typical in a brand new Congress.
Stripes: Military veteran’s household agrees to $2.5 million in settlement with VA over wrongful demise go well with
By WILL MORRIS | STARS AND STRIPESPublished: November 7, 2018
Carol Merritt felt each intense delight and fear in the course of the eight years of her son’s army service.
Throughout Aaron Merritt’s three fight deployments, two as an explosive ordnance disposal technician, she’d typically look at her house telephone questioning when it will ring with dreadful information.
That decision didn’t come and she or he felt she might lastly breathe a sigh of aid when he was launched from lively obligation in January 2014. However 9 months later, on the afternoon of Oct. 28, 2014, her husband visited her at work and with a damaged voice advised her that their son had died.
Aaron Merritt had gone to the emergency room of the Nashville Veterans Affairs Hospital critically sick and was lifeless lower than 24 hours later. He was 26.
Final month, the VA agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a wrongful dying lawsuit filed by the Lake Havasu Metropolis, Ariz., couple. The award is just not an admission of fault.
Aaron Merritt was the sufferer of a scarcity of communication between docs and a failure to stick to primary medical procedures, in response to the lawsuit, which was filed in 2016.
“He did three tours, one in Iraq and two in Afghanistan, and made it home but he died instead under the care of the VA. It’s unimaginable,” Carol Merritt stated final week. “He protected all these people. Who protected Aaron?”
The instant explanation for dying was the acid content material of his blood, septic shock, and low ranges of pink and white blood cells and platelets, in line with the dying certificates. However his household says the dying was the end result of a string of medical mishaps that would have simply been prevented, stated Frank B. Thacher, the household’s lawyer.
“Aaron slipped through the cracks in something that was very simple as giving a blood test,” Thacher stated. Our hope is the go well with does have an effect on some change within the VA. There’s no sum of money that may compensate Aaron for what he needed to endure over the past moments of his life or what his mother and father misplaced.”
The VA didn’t reply to a number of requests for remark from Stars and Stripes.
Service and mistreatment
Following within the footsteps of his grandfather, a World Conflict II veteran, Aaron Merritt enlisted within the Military after highschool. He volunteered to develop into an EOD technician after his Iraq tour after which deployed twice to Afghanistan.
“He was just really a great kid,” his mom stated. “In Afghanistan he was always getting everyone to laugh and tried to keep everyone happy while he was there. He told me joking that he ‘was having a blast.’”
He was twice awarded the Military Commendation Medal with Valor, together with as soon as for saving the lifetime of an Afghan soldier, and he deliberate to make use of his army bomb detection information within the civilian world working for the Transportation Safety Administration. He was within the strategy of making use of when he died, his mother and father stated.
Army docs had recognized him with ulcerative colitis, a bowel illness that causes irritation and sores within the digestive tract and had put him on the drug mesalamine in early 2014, simply earlier than he left the Military. That Might, VA docs in Nashville handled him for the primary time and added a prescription for azathioprine, an anti-inflammatory drug with uncomfortable side effects that suppress the immune system.
For months, nevertheless, VA docs largely ignored the drug producer’s suggestion of normal blood work, in accordance with courtroom paperwork, till the very important blood elements wanted to struggle an infection have been so low, his blood had been poisoned.
Earlier than being admitted to the ER on Oct. 27, 2014, Aaron Merritt despatched an e mail to his physician on the VA describing his signs, together with flare-ups of the ulcerative colitis, excessive temperatures, and ulcers in his mouth that have been making it painful to eat and drink.
“I’m also finding it difficult to keep food and water down,” he wrote. “I was wondering if this was something I should be seen for or if I could get new medications to treat this or improve my quality of life.”
He got here to the ER with sepsis, a life-threatening complication of an infection that docs treating him on the time stated “was likely due to bone marrow suppression caused by azathioprine.” He was despatched to the intensive care unit.
By early morning the subsequent day, he was critically ailing and his purple blood cells, white blood cells and platelets have been all being destroyed by blood poisoning that was almost unimaginable to deal with due to his compromised immune system.
“Aaron coded four times,” courtroom data state, referring to the variety of occasions his coronary heart or respiration stopped that morning. “During the fourth code, his body could no longer fight the overwhelming infection.”
Going to courtroom
The household took up the battle for extra info after his demise, however the hospital administration wouldn’t launch something significant about his case, Thacher stated. It was solely after the late Arizona Sen. John McCain opened an investigation that the household was capable of view the medical data.
Carol Merritt then spent nights and weekends going by means of his data for weeks, underlining physician’s entries and making notes within the margins. To her, the proof that her son hadn’t been handled correctly was overwhelming.
“I could just see they didn’t have any blood work,” she stated.
The couple sued for $6.1 million with the hope of studying extra about how their son had died, to hunt justice for his demise and to boost consciousness on how veterans are handled within the VA hospital system.
“There just needs to be changes at the VA, the way vets receive medical treatment,” Steve Merritt stated.
The couple hopes that their efforts will assist immediate change.
“How do you get justice for your son dying?” Carol Merritt stated. “I guess we want to know when the VA will start being held accountable for the care and treatment of our veterans.”