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Capitol Health Call
February 9, 2005

Veterans’ Committee Shake-up

JAMA. 2005;293(6):668. doi:10.1001/jama.293.6.668-d

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.

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