Shinseki: VA backlog will end by 2015

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said Sunday that the growing backlog in claims at the VA will end by 2015.

More than 600,000 claims are currently backlogged (defined as pending for more than 125 days) -- a sharp increase that has many veterans and members of Congress crying foul.

"No veteran should have to wait for claims like they are today. We have a fix for this," Shinseki said on CNN's "State of the Union." "We will end the backlog in 2015."

The ramping down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has led to a surge in claims that has led to the backlog.

Pressed on why the VA hasn't been able to deal with the claims more quickly, Shinseki offered few answers. Asked whether it was a manpower issue, he noted that President Obama has increased VA funding at a time when other areas are being cut.

"Very clearly from this president, the growth in our budgets reflect where he places his value," Shinseki said.

Shinseki assured that he remains as impatient as the veterans whose claims have been backlogged.

"No veteran should have to wait for claims," he said. "If there's anybody impatient here, I am that individual. And we're pushing hard."

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.

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Aaron Blake · March 24, 2013