By Tracy Bloom
Broken Promise: Despite President’s Obama vow to fix the Department of Veterans Affairs, the backlog of disability claims for former military personnel has grown to nearly 1 million, leaving many—including some prominent veterans advocates who supported Obama—understandably outraged. Since Obama took first office, the number of disability claims has nearly doubled. “I supported President Obama in both elections, but what is happening right now at VA is inexcusable,” said Thomas Bandzul, a leading veterans advocate and the legislative counsel for Veterans and Military Families for Progress. A number of editorial boards have also chimed in, calling it a “national disgrace” and asking for the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. (Read more)
Immigration Bill Coming: Comprehensive immigration reform could be introduced later this week, according to Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who is a part of the bipartisan group of eight senators working on the legislation. Schumer said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the final language is being hammered out. He added that there had been only minor “kerfuffles” and not any major stumbling blocks in the negotiations. “I think we’re doing very well,” he said.” “We hope that we can have a bipartisan agreement among the eight of us on comprehensive immigration reform by the end of this week.” (Read more)
On Second Thought: Sen. Tim Johnson of South Carolina is the latest in a string of Democrats to change his views on the issue of gay marriage, announcing Monday that he now supports allowing same-sex couples to wed. “After lengthy consideration, my views have evolved sufficiently to support marriage equality legislation,” he said. “This position doesn’t require any religious denomination to alter any of its tenets; it simply forbids government from discrimination regarding who can marry whom.” Johnson’s change of heart leaves just three Senate Democrats—Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Pryor of Arkansas—who oppose legalizing gay marriage. (Read more)
Pressed for Information: An “overzealous” Colorado judge has threatened to put Fox News reporter Jana Winter in jail if she doesn’t reveal her sources for a story she wrote about James Holmes in the aftermath of the Aurora movie theater shooting. After the massacre, Winter was the first to report that Holmes had sent a package to a Colorado psychiatrist detailing how he was going to kill people. She said her information came from “law enforcement sources.” But because of a gag order in place aimed at preventing such people from publicly talking about the case, the judge wants to know who Winter’s sources were. So far, Winter has refused. From Gawker: “The prospect that she may go to jail for doing her job is an outrage. The fact that she has thus far been hung out to dry by a press corps normally quick to cry foul is a direct consequence of the fact that she, and many of her colleagues, have been systematically exploited by Roger Ailes as human shields in their lengthy war on the practice of newsgathering.” (Read more)
Koch on Tap: A billionaire California hedge-fund executive is targeting Congressman Stephen F. Lynch, a Democrat running to be the party’s nominee for the special election Senate race, because he doesn’t oppose the Keystone XL pipeline. Thomas F. Steyer, a Democrat who is hoping to become the left’s answer to the Koch brothers, is bombarding the candidate with “theatrical attacks” like a plane carrying a banner that reads “Steve Lynch for Oil Evil Empire.” Steyer warned Lynch about the attacks ahead of time, telling the congressman last month that if he didn’t change his mind on the Keystone pipeline, he would launch an aggressive campaign to ensure his defeat in the April 30 primary. According to The Boston Globe, Steyer says his aim is to prevail over candidates who have not “adequately confronted climate change.” (Read more)
Video of the Day: It took CNN’s experimental prime-time talk show “(Get to) The Point” roughly one week to make its point. After its weeklong run, the program, which was declared by one person “the worst cable access show I’ve ever seen,” is no more. Although the program was short-lived, it still managed to be on long enough for Jon Stewart to sufficiently mock it. “The Daily Show” host ridiculed it last week as part of a segment “highlighting” the accomplishments of CNN head Jeff Zucker. In honor of the demise of “(Get to) The Point,” here is Stewart’s hilarious take on the program.