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Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

An investigation by a Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general found that the Department "improperly denied hundreds of military sexual trauma claims in recent years," USA Today reports.

The details: The department didn't order medical exams in the majority of cases, and re-routed the sexual trauma claims to staff with no "specialized knowledge" to handle them. Denying such claims could have left "potentially thousands" of veterans with PTSD, and no benefits to cover treatment. At least 1,300 sexual trauma claims were "mishandled" in 2017 alone, per USA Today. The IG recommended reviews of the denied claims and improved training, which the Department's top benefits official Paul Lawrence said the agency will comply with.

"VA appreciates the inspector general’s oversight and concurs or concurs in principle with each of the IG’s six recommendations, which the department will begin implementing right away. We know this is an area where the department can improve. That’s why VA has required all of its claims processors to take MST training and pledged to review each and every denied MST-related claim decided between October 1, 2016, and June 30, 2018. If mistakes were made, we will fix them in order to ensure affected Veterans are getting all of the support, benefits and services they have earned."
— VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Pelosi expects “billionaire’s tax” to pay for Biden social spending

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday she expects the chamber to pass the bipartisan infrastructure plan by week’s end, and alternatives to corporate tax hikes and a “billionaires tax” will be used to finance President Biden’s promised expansion to the social safety net.

Why it matters: Pelosi’s comments come as House and Senate leaders try to wrap up a deal. What will get cut — and how the remainder will be paid — are linchpins to a final agreement.