Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Maybe They Were Using "Fuzzy Math"

The Bush administration admits it seriously "misunderestimated' the number of troops coming home from the wars and needing some medical care.

They thought only about 23,553 wounded or sick soldiers could come home from Afghanistan and Iraq this year. They've upped that estimate to 103,000.

That means it's going to cost more to take care of them. Earlier, the Veterans Administration said it was $1 billion short. New documents show the Department is closer to $2.6 billion.

Just this week, VA Secretary Jim Nicholson went with hat in hand to the House Appropriations Committee to explain the $1 billion shortfall. Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) said waiting so long to tell Congress "borders on stupidity."

"Somebody was hoping they could hide the ball for a while and talk about it later, and frankly in this arena you can't afford to do that."

--Rep Jerry Lewis (R-CA),
quoted in the Washington Post

Republican Senators on the Veterans Affairs Committee chipped in an extra $1.5 billion to cover the earlier reported loss. Now they may have to come up with another billion. (WashPost, HT: Tracey Vail)

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