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House panel promises more aggressive VA oversight

By By KEVIN FREKING

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs is warning the VA to expect much more aggressive oversight in the coming months as lawmakers review the department's conference and travel spending.

Republican Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida said the "truce is over" at the end of a contentious hearing into two training conferences that took place in 2011 in Orlando, Fla. The department's inspector general cited some $762,000 in questionable spending at those conferences.

W. Scott Gould, a deputy secretary at the VA, told lawmakers that the department had taken several steps in response to the inspector general's report, including ethics training for all VA personnel involved in planning and overseeing the conferences. He also noted that four employees had been suspended and two others resigned.

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