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Shaheen Contrasts Obama Campaign With Veterans Backlog

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., asked the president Wednesday how it was possible that his campaign ran one of the most sophisticated data operations in history but that his administration cannot figure out how to get through the Veterans Affairs backlog to better distribute benefits.

Obama was on the Hill on Wednesday to meet behind closed doors with both the House and Senate Democratic caucuses.

Shaheen asked Obama why the administration has not been thinking more “outside of the box” in terms of bringing in talent from other industries, as his campaign did, to try to develop a better system to process veterans’ claims, according to a Senate aide. Obama told Shaheen that the White House was working on this and that his Chief of Staff Denis McDonough would be in charge of the effort to reform the backlog system, the aide said.

The issue of veterans benefits — and their current lack of access to them – has been a focus of Shaheen’s. As we reported in May, the New Hampshire senator, along with Sens. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., introduced legislation to authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide financial support to either public or private law schools that have established programs to assist veterans attempting to file claims with the government.

Hundreds of thousands of veterans claims remain outstanding.

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