Rep Chris Smith (R, NJ) was removed by his Republican colleagues from
the chairmanship of the House’s Veteran Affairs Committee on January
5, as well as from the committee itself, and replaced by Rep Steve Buyer (R,
Ind), a Gulf War veteran.
Republican leadership said the change occurred because Buyer is a veteran
but observers of House politics, speaking in news reports, believe the shake-up
occurred because Smith has been viewed as a renegade by his party for his
continuous push for increased spending for veterans. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, over the last 3 years, Smith boosted
funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs by about $1 billion, about
4% more than requested by the Bush administration. The department has 220 000
employees and hundreds of hospitals and clinics serving 26 million veterans
and their families.
Mitka M. Veterans’ Committee Shake-up. JAMA. 2005;293(6):668. doi:10.1001/jama.293.6.668-d