Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman is busy cleaning up the Aurora VA hospital mess – a bureaucratic quagmire of epic proportions resulting from lax oversight and incompetent administration from Obama’s now-infamous Department of Veteran’s Affairs and Congressman Ed Perlmutter, who carried the bill that set the debacle in motion when Democrat represented Aurora.
The mess got messier yesterday when a federal appeals judge ruled Kiewit-Turner could walk away from the project due to breach of contract on the part of the VA. Apparently, the VA only budgeted $600 million for a facility scheduled to cost $1 billion to build, and the construction company has been sounding the alarm for years. As for Kiewit-Turner, the company says it has not been paid and has even floated the project $100 million to keep it moving forward.
But, never you fear, Coffman is here. Coffman passed a bill in the House that would give management of the construction project to the Army Corps of Engineers. But after Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall couldn’t move the bill through the Democratic chamber, Coffman brokered a deal directly with VA and the Army Corps of Engineers. Yesterday, the VA stood down, tails between legs, and relinquished control of the project to the more competent USACE.
There is still more work to do – namely, what is this administration going to do to get the 1,000 laid off workers back on the job? And, even worse, get these workers back to work before the holidays. Here’s what one worker told ABC7:
“It’s like a Scrooge. The VA Scrooge,” said Kirk, a welder on the project who didn’t want to give his last name.
Kirk waited outside the meeting Kiewit-Turner held with sub-contractors because he’s been unable to retrieve his personal tools from the job site. He said he needs them to take another job.
“I’m starving,” Kirk said. “I’ve been two years unemployed, and I’m trying to get back on my feet. I’ve only been eight months on the job. So I’m trying to stay employed.”
And notice Perlmutter, the man who made this mess, is pretty much invisible. Thankfully, Coffman is there to clean-up Perlmutter’s mess. Hosting folksy “Government in the Grocery” events is pretty ineffective if Perlmutter’s constituents cannot even afford to buy groceries.