Mike Coffman and the Aurora VA Hospital: Coffman’s Part of the Problem

(Right back at ya – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As Rep. Mike Coffman appeared in Aurora today to grandstand at a U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee field hearing about the troubled VA Hospital project in Aurora, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, released a new report documenting Coffman’s own oversight responsibility over the project, and failure to take action for years despite knowing that massive cost overruns were occurring.

“We all know the situation with the VA hospital in Aurora,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms, “a project that will drag on for years beyond its target completion date and is currently estimated to be a billion dollars over budget. But there are some key facts in this situation that have been conveniently overlooked.”

“Representative Mike Coffman, who represents district where the hospital is being built, has recently become very outspoken about this issue,” said Runyon-Harms. “Coffman can be outraged. He can be frustrated. But he cannot be shocked or surprised when as Chair of the Oversight Committee, he had known this information for years–and until recently has done almost nothing to fix the problem.”

In a report summarizing Rep. Coffman’s statements and actions in response to the Aurora VA Hospital’s cost overruns, ProgressNow Colorado finds that Coffman knew that the price of the new hospital would exceed a billion dollars, hundreds of millions over its original budget, since at least 2013. Coffman participated in the drafting of legislation to address problems identified in early 2013 by the General Accounting Office, but admitted delaying the bill for 16 more months.

Read the report in full here.

“As chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Oversight Committee, it has always been Coffman’s responsibility to do something about the problems at the Aurora VA Hospital project,” said Runyon-Harms. “But up until this point, all we’ve gotten is finger pointing, grandstanding, and even attempting to fundraise off of this catastrophe for his re-election. There is plenty of blame to go around for this budget-busting debacle, but Mike Coffman has spent over 5 years on the Armed Services Committee, and over 2 years as the Chair of the VA Oversight Subcommittee. So instead of political grandstands, we call on Coffman to take some responsibility for this problem, and offer real solutions instead of slogans to get it fixed.”

“Coffman is fond of the words ‘lead, follow, or get out of the way,'” said Runyon-Harms. “It’s time for Coffman to take his own advice.”

6 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit! says:

    NO. Congress has no authority. It is all the black guy’s fault.

    (repeat)

  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    Didn’t I mention that I was a marine?  That I went to Iraq?  That I can do push-ups (sorta)?  What more do you freedom hating libs want?

  3. BlueCat says:

    If the only people who hear any of this are Progress Now fans it’s just preaching to the choir.

  4. mamajama55 says:

    Good solid research by PCN. I knew that Coffman had cosponsored several bills to get things moving at the VA; I was not aware that he and his cosponsor had delayed introducing the bills for 16 months, nor that the bills themselves merely repeated what the GAO had recommended.

    Coffman’s belligerent and partisan style have undoubtedly prevented him from becoming an effective legislator.

  5. DaninDen says:

     Not just Rep Mike, the lot of them, waving their arms during the latest walk thru, hoping for sound bites to magically appear. So thoroughly outclassed by the scope of the project. Lota money on the table, dime store hucksters who don’t have the experience to engage at that level. Pathetic

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