In fiscal year 2015, approximately 290,000 of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ estimated 312,841 employees reportedly spent more than 1 million taxpayer-funded work hours on union activities versus caring for veterans.
This revelation was divulged Thursday at a heated hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform during which both Republican and Democrat members hammered scandal-plagued VA officials for their immense incompetence, according to The Daily Caller.
“Something’s gotta change,” Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan told officials during the hearing, The Daily Caller reported. “I appreciate y’all having the hearing, but look, this is unbelievable, unbelievable what we have here. So let’s hope we can change it and get rid of all these folks on official time.”
By “official time,” Jordan meant “paid time off from assigned government duties to represent a union or its bargaining unit employees,” as described by the Office of Personnel Management.
“I love the way government works — a fancy name, ‘official time,’” Jordan added with evident sarcasm. “It sounds like they’re actually working for the taxpayers, working for the veterans, when, in fact, it’s just the opposite.”
As noted by The Daily Caller, the VA spent nearly $47 million on so-called “official time” in fiscal year 2015. And of the 290,000 employees who wasted taxpayer funds participating in union activities, 346 reportedly devoted 100 percent of their at-work efforts to said activities.
To listen to the full hearing, play the video below:
Only one person present at the hearing — William Lawrence Kovacs, a labor policy analyst for the Competitive Enterprise Institute and witness — had the temerity to suggest the obvious, which is that official time should be eliminated.
“Union official time is an unwise use of limited tax dollars and serves the private interests of unions,” he testified. “The public does not directly benefit from the use of official time. Congress should eliminate the use of official time.”
That seems painfully obvious. For the sake of our veterans, who deserve so much better, this policy must be eliminated and the Department of Veterans Affairs must be drained of its many swamp creatures.
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