House Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Chair: Mark Takano

A

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]

7 Investigative Oversight Hearings

68 Policy/Legislative Hearings

96 Total Hearings

Last updated: Oct. 3, 2020, 7:28 p.m.

Like its Senate counterpart, 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. The committee often attracts members with large VA facilities, or large numbers of veterans, in their districts. 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.

For a relatively small House committee—just 25 members in the 115th Congress—Veterans Affairs has a robust hearing schedule, in contrast to its less active Senate counterpart, and one of the House’s most ambitious oversight records. In the 114th Congress (2015-16) for instance, nearly 20 percent of its hearings were for investigative oversight. Under Republican Chairs Jeff Miller (Fla.) and Phil Roe, a Tennessee obstetrician, since the 112th Congress (2011-2012), the committee has worked at a fairly steady pace on legislative and policy hearings, with between 43 and 53 each session. When Chair Miller took over in 2011, investigative oversight hearings dropped to a low of 6 for his first Congress, but by the 114th Congress had more than doubled to 15.

In the 115th Congress (2017-2018) under chair Roe, the committee held 12 investigative oversight hearings, more than half of them concerning issues with the VA’s medical system. Other hearings looked at the VA’s financial management systems; problems with processing students on the GI Bill; problems with supervision of the outside contractors who conduct disability exams; “An examination of the VA’s productivity and efficiency”; and a look at poor management the VA’s vast mailing system, larger than that of Social Security or the IRS, featuring a “$11,257 package,” reportedly mailed via FedEx Ground from a Georgia VA facility (it actually cost $112, the committee found.)


Chairs

111th Congress: Bob Filner (D-CA)

112th Congress: Jeff Miller (R-FL)

113th Congress: Jeff Miller (R-FL)

114th Congress: Jeff Miller (R-FL)

115th Congress: Phil Roe (R-TN)

116th Congress: Mark Takano (D-CA)


Current Congress

We are 100% of the way through the 116th Congress

House Committee on Veterans' Affairs

7 Investigative Oversight Hearings; 58% historical maximum
68 Policy/Legislative Hearings; 100% historical maximum
96 Total Hearings; 100% historical maximum

Committee History

Number of Hearings
Committee Hearing Performance
Investigative/Oversight Policy/Legislative Total Hearings Score Grade
111th Congress 9 57 101 96% A
112th Congress 6 43 73 70% C-
113th Congress 12 45 92 92% A
114th Congress 15 51 82 100% A
115th Congress 12 53 83 94% A
116th Congress* 7 68 96 121% A
Historical average 10.2 52.8 87.8

* 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
House Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Date Hearing Title Committee Category