The American Conservatives is calling on the Republican presidential candidates to immediately denounce the VA scandals plaguing veterans.
The veterans advocates group says in a new letter to the Republican candidates that if they fail to do so, they will “continue to lose support and be a hindrance to their ability to enact the reforms they promised to enact in the first place.”
“The American Conservative is deeply concerned that candidates for president have been silent about the VA system, and are now actively promoting a VA system that is not working for the veterans they claim to represent,” the letter reads.
“If you are unable to do anything about the current crisis, then you will continue to lose credibility as a candidate for president and may ultimately find yourself behind bars for your actions.”
The veterans groups letter follows the announcement earlier this week that Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump had signed on to a proposal that would give the Veterans Administration (VA) more authority to administer its own insurance programs and the privatization of VA hospitals.
The proposal also seeks to eliminate the requirement that veterans be enrolled in a VA-approved health plan.
Trump’s plan, called the Veterans Choice Act, is expected to receive support from veterans groups and other Democrats.
The American Conservatives says the Veterans Act of 2016, which Congress passed in 2016, “has led to VA care being underfunded and understaffed, resulting in unnecessary wait times for veterans and the under-treatment of veterans.”
“It is vital that all Americans receive the care and care they need at VA facilities,” the group said.
“As a nation, we must reform VA to bring our nation’s veterans and veterans families back to health and dignity.”
Trump, a former real estate developer, has repeatedly dismissed claims that the VA under-researched veterans before signing off on the plan to privatize the VA.
He told The New York Times earlier this month that he had “never seen anything like it.”
“They went after our vets, and they lied about it.
And they lied to the American people,” Trump said.
The VA scandal is now being treated as a national security issue, with the Justice Department investigating allegations of falsifying patient data.
The VA, in turn, is looking into allegations that the agency failed to protect whistleblowers who exposed misconduct in the agency.