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Vice President Kamala Harris, right, and Denis McDonough bump elbows after McDunough was ceremonially sworn in by Harris as secretary of Veterans Affairs, Feb. 9, in Washington. Social media posts falsely claim she said she will close the department. (AP) Vice President Kamala Harris, right, and Denis McDonough bump elbows after McDunough was ceremonially sworn in by Harris as secretary of Veterans Affairs, Feb. 9, in Washington. Social media posts falsely claim she said she will close the department. (AP)

Vice President Kamala Harris, right, and Denis McDonough bump elbows after McDunough was ceremonially sworn in by Harris as secretary of Veterans Affairs, Feb. 9, in Washington. Social media posts falsely claim she said she will close the department. (AP)

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke March 17, 2021

No, Harris didn’t say the Biden administration is closing Veterans Affairs

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  • This claim originated on a self-described satire website. 
     
  • As a presidential candidate, Harris campaigned on a plan to expand Veteran Affairs health care and housing assistance.
 

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers services and benefits for American military veterans and their families, but a statement falsely attributed to Vice President Kamala Harris on social media suggests she doesn’t support the agency’s work. 

"The United States government cannot continue to pay for the every need of what has become a special class of citizen," the statement says. "Veterans are equal to us, not better than. Veterans Affairs coddles them. It creates a dependency upon us which is not doing these former soldiers any good. They need to learn to live on their own two feet and be responsible adults. The easiest way to assist them on this journey is to cut them off. Within these next four years, we will be shuttering the VA, taking away soldier welfare. The money saved will go to better use in assisting refugee families. These poor folks seek asylum with us and need a boost and it is our responsibility as a nation to provide it." 

The statement concludes with this jab: "So here’s a message to the soldier boys. Get a job." 

If it seems unbelievable that the vice president would say something like this about members of the military, that’s because she didn’t. 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The statement attributed to Harris appears to have originated on a self-described satire website called America’s Last Line of Defense. On the site, there are several satire labels to warn the reader that this isn’t real news. 

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But such caveats are missing from the statement spreading on social media, which echoes the satirical blog post by claiming that Harris made the announcement speaking in Chicago.

Such an announcement would be major news, but we found no media coverage to corroborate the claim that Harris said this.

In February, Harris participated in a ceremonial swearing in for the new Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough, who promised to base his decisions around "whether it increases veterans’ access to care and benefits and improves outcomes for them."

And as a presidential candidate, Harris campaigned on a plan to expand Veteran Affairs health care and housing assistance. 

A spokesperson for Harris told Reuters that the vice president did not make the statement attributed to her in the social media post.

We rate it Pants on Fire.

 

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No, Harris didn’t say the Biden administration is closing Veterans Affairs

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