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Topics: House of Representatives

John Boehner blames Obama for problems at Veterans Affairs hospitals, spares Eric Shinseki

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House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday said despite a new report about systemic mismanagement at Veterans Affairs hospitals, he would not be joining many of this GOP colleagues in calling for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

“I’m going to continue to reserve judgement on General Shinseki,” Boehner told reporters following a closed-door meeting with the House GOP rank and file.

Boehner said he believes removing Shinseki at this point would not help solve the numerous problems at the VA, where thousands of veterans are left waiting for care.

“The question I ask myself is, is his resigning going to get us to the bottom of the problem, is it going to help us find out what is really going on?” Boehner said. “And the answer I keep getting is no.”

Boehner's decision comes after many top congressional Republicans called on Shinseki to step aside following a report from the department inspector general that found falsified statistics at the Phoenix VA medical center that concealed an average wait time for medical care of 115 days.

Among those who have called for Shinseki’s resignation is the House Majority Whip, Kevin McCarthy.

Standing next to Boehner, McCarthy did not repeat his call for Shinseki to step down, instead turning the blame on President Obama, who he said ignored a GOP initiative last year to implement reforms outlined in a report by the Government Accountability Office.

Obama, McCarthy said, was aware of the problems at the VA, despite saying he first learned of the scandal by reading recent news reports.

“Republicans sent you a letter to change it, and we’ve been ignored,” McCarthy said of the White House.

Boehner called the claim by Obama that he did not know about the problems at the VA, "rather shocking."

The president, Boehner said, "is going to have to step up here and show some real leadership."

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Author:

Susan Ferrechio

Chief Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner