Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Chair: Jerry Moran

F

Projected Grade for the 116th Congress*

* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]

0 Investigative Oversight Hearings

17 Policy/Legislative Hearings

25 Total Hearings

Last updated: Sept. 26, 2020, 12:45 a.m.

The committee has primary jurisdiction over the Veterans Affairs Department, the largest cabinet department after the Pentagon, with more than 350,000 employees, a budget of more than $200 billion, 1,200 hospital and other health care centers, serving millions of veterans every year with medical care, disability compensation, old-age pensions and other services. Medical care makes up the lion’s share of the agency’s discretionary budget, and the committee spends much of its time debating the costs and quality of care provided by the VA system. Its activities are closely monitored by influential veterans groups who represent millions of vets throughout the country, and it tends to operate in a bipartisan fashion. The committee has no subcommittees.

In the 115th Congress (2017-18), the committee under Chair Johnny Isakson (R, Ga.) held just 30 hearings, the fewest of the period. That was a big drop from the 44 it held in the previous Congress under Chair Isakson, and well below the average for the four other Congresses.

In the 115th Congress, the committee held just 18 policy and legislative oversight hearings, the fewest in the period and a sharp drop from the 33 it held in the previous Congress. Prior to the 115th the committee had averaged about 30 policy and legislative oversight hearings per Congress.

In the 115th Congress the committee held three investigative oversight hearings, compared to one in the 114th Congress (2015-16). In the 115th, a March 2017 hearing reviewed a critical GAO report that noted “limited progress” by the VA in addressing serious concerns about veterans’ health care that had caused GAO to designate the VA an agency at “high risk” in 2015; in January, 2018, it reviewed the VA's progress in implementing reform legislation passed in 2017; and in September 2018, it grilled recently-installed VA Secretary Robert Wilkie about progress on reform in his first 60 days in office.


Chairs

111th Congress: Daniel Akaka (D-HI)

112th Congress: Patty Murray (D-WA)

113th Congress: Bernie Sanders (D-VT)

114th Congress: Johnny Isakson (R-GA)

115th Congress: Johnny Isakson (R-GA)

116th Congress: Jerry Moran (R-KS) [Johnny Isakson (R-GA)]


Current Congress

We are 95% of the way through the 116th Congress

Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs

0 Investigative Oversight Hearings; 0% historical maximum
17 Policy/Legislative Hearings; 52% historical maximum
25 Total Hearings; 57% historical maximum

Committee History

Number of Hearings
Committee Hearing Performance
Investigative/Oversight Policy/Legislative Total Hearings Score Grade
111th Congress 2 39 53 100% A
112th Congress 1 26 36 66% D
113th Congress 3 24 34 71% C-
114th Congress 1 33 44 81% B-
115th Congress 3 18 30 60% D-
116th Congress* 0 17 25 52% F
Historical average 1.7 26.2 37.0

* Adjustments have been applied so that committees' grades are not lowered by the constraints on hearings caused by Covid-19 [oversight-index.thelugarcenter.org/covid-19-statement]

Number of Hearings

--- Historical Average

Hearings held by the
Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Date Hearing Title Committee Category