WEDNESDAY UPDATE: The Denver Post’s John Frank with Rep. Mike Coffman’s “how dare she” response:
“I’ve lead the effort in Congress to investigate the cost overruns at the hospital,” Coffman said in a statement, responding to Carroll’s attack. “I’ve passed legislation to continue the construction at the hospital and I’ve lead the effort to strip the VA of its construction management authority and to permanently transfer it to the Army Corps of Engineer so that this never happens again.
“So, it is disappointing that Sen. Carroll chose this issue for a partisan press release.”
Notwithstanding the fact that Coffman has repeatedly invoked the Aurora VA hospital project to attack the Democratic Obama administration, sometimes in rather nasty ways like comparing the VA to the terrorist group ISIS, he simply can’t escape his personal share in responsibility for the failure to get the new VA hospital built. In today’s story, Coffman appears to be relying on the fact that the hospital wasn’t in his district until after redistricting–as if he hadn’t been running on his military record from day one.
Above all, the biggest thing veterans want at this point is the one thing Coffman can’t deliver thanks to his feckless Republican congressional leadership–a finished hospital.
So yes, folks. It’s going to remain an issue.
A press release from Democratic CD-6 candidate Morgan Carroll’s campaign follows up the in-depth story this past weekend on the over budget VA medical center project in Aurora in the Denver Post, calling out Rep. Mike Coffman for his own responsibility as chairman of the House VA Committee’s Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee:
“I am thankful that the Denver Post has published a thorough and much needed investigation into the many problems that have led to massive cost overruns at the VA hospital in Aurora. When the Post says the ‘Aurora project reads like a hit list of dead ends and missed opportunities,’ it’s clear that Colorado taxpayers and veterans are not being well served and deserve better. The failures of this Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs are deeply troubling to all of us who care about the promise we made to our veterans and their families.
“Unfortunately, Congressman Coffman and this Republican led Congress have been asleep at the switch and have failed to identify problems and solve them. As the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Mike Coffman was in the best possible position to provide early and robust oversight of the VA hospital. [Pols emphasis] Despite his position atop this critical subcommittee, Coffman has been more effective in issuing press releases and covering up his failed oversight than holding the VA accountable. Additionally, he has been unable to work with leaders in his own party to find a long-term funding solution – opting instead to kick the can down the road.
“This is not just about Colorado or the 6th District – this hospital is about keeping our promise to America’s veterans. The brave men and women who served our country deserve the best facilities and care here at home. If given the opportunity to represent the 6thDistrict, I pledge to continue fighting tirelessly on behalf of our Servicemembers and veterans.”
Bernie Rogoff, a Korean War veteran and member of the Legislative Committee of the United Veterans Committee, issued the following statement:
“Congressman Coffman has politicized the VA hospital and made it more about his public profile than the veterans who are suffering as a result of Congressional inaction. Colorado veterans need a leader who gets real results, as Senator Morgan Carroll did when she helped build the Military Family Housing at Buckley Air Force Base, not ineffective Washington politicians like Mike Coffman who failed to provide basic oversight of the Aurora VA hospital.”
Although Rep. Coffman has co-opted the VA medical center controversy as a political platform in recent months, we’ve been pointing out for at least as long that Coffman himself shares responsibility for the situation as chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. Team Coffman’s usual response to this allegation, generally consisting of self-righteous indignation delivered at high volume to inquiring reporters, only works until a credible opponent presses the issue.
As you can see, Morgan Carroll is doing just that. In her earlier interview with 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark and again in today’s release, Carroll is proving that she is not afraid to question Coffman’s supposedly untouchable record on military and veteran’s issues.
In doing so, she just might demonstrate that Coffman’s record isn’t so untouchable after all.