Congress takes VA & IRS prime time

Continuing to hammer on the Obama Administration, Republicans will hold two hearings after dinner on Monday, hauling in the IRS Commissioner for more questions on missing emails at the tax agency, and using a separate hearing to review how the VA treats its veteran patients.

The evening hearing before the House Oversight Committee will likely feature another round of verbal barrages by Republicans against the IRS chief John Koskinen, who sparred with GOP lawmakers repeatedly over why he didn't tell Congress about missing IRS emails.

"At this point, why should anyone believe you?" Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) asked Koskinen at one point.

http://youtu.be/3UTMMJzDtUo

Look for Democrats to continue the arguments they made last Friday, accusing Republicans of running a political show trial, and trying to score election year points.

But for Republicans, the IRS email mess is no laughing matter, as they argue the tax agency has told Congress multiple stories which haven't turned out to be true.

"There seems to be two different sets of rules, sir," said Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) to Koskinen and one point on Friday, as GOP lawmakers said taxpayers are expected to keep tax documents for at least seven years - but the IRS can't seem to hold on to emails for more than 6 months.

VA zeroes in on health care for vets

While the IRS chief gets the spotlight in one hearing room, the VA will be back on the agenda for the House Veterans Committee, as lawmakers look at the quality of care for vets at VA medical facilities.

At the same time the IRS chief was getting badgered on Friday morning, lawmakers were giving an earful to VA witnesses about bonuses handed out by the VA.

http://youtu.be/yJTmnlDzEnw

The hearing testimony revealed that for the last four years, no senior executive at the VA has received a personnel rating below "Fully Successful" - even though a host of troubles have been documented by the Congress.

"Do you go back and change a performance review based on information that is gathered after the fact? asked Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL).

The answer was 'no' - that rating cannot be changed after the fact - and that is a law, not just an agency rule.