WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), the first female combat to serve in the U.S. Senate, issued the following statement after Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald compared veterans’ wait times at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to lines at Disneyland:

“Waiting to be seen at the VA for something as serious as life threatening illnesses simply cannot be compared to waiting in line to visit the Magic Kingdom. I’m absolutely appalled by Secretary McDonalds’ callous and completely out of touch comparison of the long VA wait times to lines at Disneyland.

“In November 2014 testimony before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, the VA’s chief consultant for mental health said, the average wait time for a mental health appointment at the VA is 36 days. More recently, we have heard that wait times have increased further. This is entirely unacceptable. Too many veterans have died while waiting to receive assistance from the VA, yet the Secretary himself appears to be living in Fantasyland. He is clearly completely oblivious to the pain and suffering our veterans are going through, made worse by to the VA’s complete incompetence. Our veterans deserve better.

“These men and women have selflessly sacrificed in defense of our freedoms, and our way of life. They deserve nothing less than timely and quality care we can all be proud of.”

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