The editorial writers of The Post have every right to pass judgment on any subject, including our effort to upgrade the Veterans Administration to a full Cabinet-level department.

But four times?

After The Post made its point in its first editorial on the subject, why did it shift into overkill? What would so energize The Post into going over the same ground so many times? In none of those editorials, however, has The Post explained why it feels so threatened by a future Department of Veterans Affairs.

It's certainly a little late in the game for The Post to pose as guardian of fiscal responsibility. The Post certainly won't impress anyone by aiming its heaviest editorial guns at a proposal that would do little more than raise the salaries of top VA officials by the whopping total of $30,000, or about 0.0015 of 1 percent of next year's budget.

What will it take to ease The Post's newfound budgetary anxieties? Reminding it that the bill to upgrade the VA will not create any new positions? Reminding it that the VA is already larger than any other federal department except Defense? That the VA has a budget of $27 billion, that it operates the country's most extensive hospital system and that its educational programs touch nearly every institution of higher learning?

Since I have never seen The Post editorialize so often on one bill in such a concentrated period of time, I have to wonder what it is that provokes this kind of antiveteran rhetoric. That's the only way to describe statements that tend to begin "we're for veterans, but . . . "


U.S. Representative (R-N.Y.)

Ranking Member, House Veterans Affairs Committee