GOP Blasts Democrats for Boycotting Talks on VA Legislation

Republicans slammed Democrats on Thursday after most of them boycotted a conference committee meeting to work out differences between House and Senate bills addressing the Veterans Affairs crisis.

“The crisis at VA is not a partisan problem, and I will do everything I can to prevent this from devolving into an exercise in the sort of bickering and name-calling for which Washington has become infamous,” said Rep. Jeff Miller, the Florida Republican who chairs the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

“Arriving at a compromise will be impossible if Senate Democrats refuse to even participate in … meetings and negotiations, as they did today,” he said.

House Speaker John Boehner called the Democratic no-show “shameful.”

Fourteen Republicans and only one Democrat, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona, attended the session.

“Unfortunately, Senate Democrats refused to even show up and discuss bipartisan solutions, preferring instead to talk behind closed doors,” the Ohio Republican said. “If President Obama cares about America’s veterans, he needs to pick up his phone out in California and tell Senate Democrats to get to work.”