The Buzz

BuzzChatter Monday: Blunt says the VA has plenty of money

Happy new week.

“The Veterans Administration, for the last five years, has had more money than they could spend.” — Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt on the wait-list issue facing VA hospitals all over the country.

Blunt, a Republican, insisted last week that throwing more money at the problem won’t solve anything. The VA has plenty of money. He said the key is to examine the system and figure out what needs to change to ensure that veterans are always put first. (link courtesy of

“Hillary Clinton is running for president.” — Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post reading the tea leaves about Clinton’s 2016 intentions.

Review all the evidence, and this conclusion is unmistakable, The Post’s political writer concludes.

“I'm not telling you that they don't have some ability at some point to go back and get involved (in fighting). But they also have an ability to get killed doing that.” — Secretary of State John Kerry on the prisoner swap that involved U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

These were Kerry’s first comments on the controversial trade. He told CNN that the five former detainees will be monitored closely and that the U.S. is confidant that the conditions of their release will be honored. “And if they're violated, then we have the ability to be able to do things,” he said. But he didn’t elaborate.

“It is not difficult to see how easy it would be to influence one legislator who, in turn, could easily influence the two other members of the subcommittee.” — Joseph J. Brinker, president of Bethesda Health Group, opposing a plan to give a small subcommittee dominated by Missouri legislators control over whether new nursing homes or assisted living facilities are built in the state.

A state health planning board made a wise call last week to reject a change to the “certificate of need” process. Brinker makes a point: Turning the process over to lawmakers would have made the process, which is already political, even more political. The Post-Dispatch’s Virginia Young pointed out that the current process has the nine-member Missouri Health Facilities Review Committee deciding whether more beds are needed. Lawmakers serve on that panel. But at least there are nine members, not the three called for in the plan that was defeated.