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POLITICS: PennAve

Lawmakers start calling for Eric Shinseki to step down

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Politics,Congress,Susan Ferrechio,Veterans Affairs,Health Care,PennAve,Veterans,Eric Shinseki

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is quickly losing support on Capitol Hill following a troubling report from the department's inspector general.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., have both called for Shinseki to step down following the IG report, which found evidence of thousands of vets waiting for preliminary care and 1,700 lost in limbo because they were withheld from an electronic waiting list.

“General Shinseki has given his life to serving this country and for that, we are in his debt,” McKeon said in a statement. “However, the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs have grown beyond what this nation can bear. I believe America’s veterans would be best served with a fresh set of eyes on the VA system. Only new innovations and aggressive reform can get the problems at the VA under control. It would be best if General Shinseki stepped down as Secretary, both as an example for other VA leaders and to lay the groundwork for new leadership to meet with success"

McCain, who for weeks had refrained from calling for Shinseki's ouster, joined calls by House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Miller, R-Fla., for the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation into the VA mismanagement.

McCain and Miller both called on Shinseki to resign.

“I haven't said this before, but I think it's time for General Shinseki to move on,” McCain said on CNN.

Miller will hold a hearing tonight on the Phoenix mismanagement.

“Sec. Shinseki has proven time and again he is not that leader. That’s why it’s time for him to go.”

Democrats are also joining the list.

“In light of IG report & systemic issues at @DeptVetAffairs, Sec. Shinseki must step down,” Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., tweeted.

Shinseki has in recent weeks refused to step down and has mostly enjoyed the backing of House and Senate lawmakers in both parties, who admire his resume as a four-star Army general and wounded Vietnam War veteran.

Shinseki said in a statement that the department would fully implement the recommendations in the IG report and would move even faster to get care for veterans in or out of the system.

“Further, we are accelerating access to care throughout our system and in communities where Veterans reside,” Shinseki said.

Obama, according to White House press secretary Jay Carney, said the IG report findings are “extremely troubling.”

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Author:

Susan Ferrechio

Chief Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner