Dr. Boozman's Check-up
The scandal surrounding the systematic, widespread problems in the health care system of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) came to light well over a year ago, thanks in part to an investigation by VA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).
Yet that very same office has been without its top leadership for almost two years now.
Without a permanent watchdog in place, it is difficult to make sure the necessary reforms are carried out. The lack of accountability makes it easier to sweep misconduct under the rug, which puts veterans at risk.
Late last week, President Obama nominated attorney Michael Missal to take over as VA’s Inspector General (IG). The White House said he was nominated for the post in part because of his “proven record of expertly leading prominent, sensitive, and extensive investigations.”
While I am pleased that the President has finally moved on this vacancy, the Senate must ensure he is the right person for the job. I will give Mr. Missal’s nomination a full review and should he pass the test, I fully intend to push my colleagues to move his nomination forward quickly.
It should not have, however, taken this long for the President to send a nomination for this position over to the Senate.
IG’s are taxpayers’ first line of defense against waste, fraud and abuse in Washington. Along with VA, several departments and agencies have gone years without a permanent watchdog. This is inexcusable.
We need to restore the public’s faith in Washington. This begins with accountability. As a defender of taxpayer dollars, IG’s play an instrumental role. It is my hope that this nomination is the start of a trend to fill these vacancies.