Chair: Mark Takano
Projected Grade for the 117th Congress
0 Investigative Oversight Hearings
21 Policy/Legislative Hearings
28 Total HearingsLast updated: July 31, 2021, 8:50 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 27 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, from the 112th to the 115th Congress (2011-2018), the committee has worked at a fairly steady pace on legislative and policy hearings, with between 43 and 53 each session. They also had a very robust schedule of investigative oversight hearings, between 12 and 15 each Congress.
In the pandemic-shortened 116th Congress (2019-20), under new chair Mark Takano (D-CA), the committee held the second-highest number of total hearings in the survey period. While the pace of legislative and policy hearings picked up sharply, investigative oversight activity fell by almost half compared to the prior Congress, to seven hearings, In April 2019 it looked into problems at the VA’s Office of Information and Technology. In June it held two investigative hearings. One featured three whistleblowers who told of being retaliated against for reporting problems in the VA’s health system, as well as top VA officials, NGOs representing whistleblowers, and the Merit Systems Protection Board. The other was a hearing on an Inspector General’s report that found staffing shortages and poor supervision of the VA police force at its medical facilities. In September, it took a critical look at the VA’s debt collection practices. In October it held a hearing entitled, “Broken Promises: Assessing the VA’s Systems for Protecting Veterans from Clinical Harm.” In November in looked into the problem of disinformation on social media aimed at veterans. And in June of 2020, it looked into the VA’s preparedness to handle other natural disasters during the pandemic.
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)
117th Congress: Mark Takano (D-CA)
We are 39% of the way through the 117th Congress
House Committee on Veterans' Affairs0 Investigative Oversight Hearings; 0% historical maximum
Number of Hearings
Committee Hearing Performance
* 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]