U.S. Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama today updated central-Alabama business, political, and military leaders on national security, immigration, and veterans issues at an event held during Congress’s traditional August break.
Roby, R-Montgomery, speaking at the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues breakfast, discussed middle-class economics, the attack on innocents in Iraq, her select subcommittee’s quest for information about the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, mismanagement at Veterans Affairs facilities, and “the crisis along the southern border.”
To the business-oriented audience, Roby suggested ending the pretense that the nation’s economy is doing well. “You get it, you see it, your businesses,” she said. Roby said the burden of the federal government strains middle-class budgets and businesses. She advocated small-business tax relief. Roby supports the role of Career and Technical Education in work force development.
Roby said the situation in Iraq where innocents are being killed is “pure evil.” America must lead, she said, and she supports military intervention to stop the advance of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. “We need to do what we need to do to stop it. We have a responsibility to stop this,” she said.
In May, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, appointed Roby to serve on the House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi, an attack that left four Americans dead at the Benghazi mission and security compound. “The White House said we’re fine, the day before, but we weren’t,” she said.
Although Democrats are claiming that the Republican-led House committee is a political stunt, Roby said there are “lots of gaps in information. This is a fact-finding mission. The American people need to know the truth.”
Roby remarked on her goal of fixing the myriad of problems at VA hospitals and clinics, including reports of mismanagement over patient care at the Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System in Montgomery and Tuskegee. “It is a system that is broken,” she said.
The July 25 VA Access Audit report said that 57 percent of staff interviewed at Montgomery felt they had received “instruction from the facility” to change an appointment date to other than when the veteran asked to be seen. Roby said she was told that those responsible had been fired but later learned that wasn’t true. “They haven’t fired anyone in the VA,” she said
Roby said she and U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., asked VA Secretary Robert McDonald to visit CAVHCS and develop a plan for reform but they have not heard back.
She said, however, that she is encouraged by the VA’s addition of Patient-Centered Community Care that allows veterans to seek care outside the VA system in local hospitals and at medical providers. “We have a responsibility to these men and women who have served to protect us, and it’s been my goal to make sure this happens,” Roby has said.
The recent House-passed VA reform bill strongly supports PC3 and other “fee-based programs.”
Roby said the “crisis at the southern border” could get worse as there are 10,000 more unaccompanied children from Central America now in Mexico ready to make the journey across the U.S.-Mexico border. “The president needs to use the tools he has to ensure these children home to their families,” Roby said.
Roby serves on the powerful House Committee on Appropriations and on the subcommittees for Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies, Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, and Legislative Branch.
– Dana Beyerle