WASHINGTON (AP) — Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has resigned amid widespread troubles in the VA health care system.
President Barack Obama says he accepted the resignation with "considerable regret." He and Shinseki met in the Oval Office on Friday morning.
Shinseki had faced mounting calls to step down from lawmakers in both parties.
Shinseki's resignation comes two days after a scathing internal report found broad and deep-seated problems in the sprawling health care system. The system provides care to about 6.5 million veterans annually.
Shinseki is a retired four-star Army general who has overseen the VA since the start of Obama's presidency.
Sloan Gibson will replace Shinseki.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte released this statement today following the announcement of the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki:
“Secretary Shinseki’s resignation is only part of the solution to the systemic problems within the VA system. The issues uncovered at the VA are the result of severe mismanagement by officials at every level of the Department, as well as a total lack of oversight from the White House, and are completely unacceptable. It is critical that the responsible officials and employees at the VA be held accountable. The next VA Secretary will have a serious task before them to change the course of this troubled Department. I hope that a strong replacement is selected to accomplish this task. I also hope that President Obama will step up to the plate and lead on this issue as he has promised to do since his election, including the signing of House passed legislation giving the VA Secretary increased authority to fire senior executive employees who fail to serve our veterans. The delays in service faced by our veterans must be addressed immediately in order to correct the problem and ensure quality, timely service for those who have sacrificed so much for our nation. Nothing less will be acceptable to the American public, or to me.”
U.S. Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) issued the following statement today on the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki:
“The resignation of Secretary Shinseki is coming too late for thousands of veterans who have been let down by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA’s systemic failures demand investigation, reform and rebuilding, and the secretary’s resignation is just the beginning. Our veterans need to know that the VA will deliver timely, quality care, and we must move quickly to ensure that the VA will deliver on its commitments to all of our nation’s veterans.”
West Virginia Secretary of State and U.S. Senate candidate Natalie Tennant released the following statement today following the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary General Eric Shinseki.
"It's clear General Shinseki had become a distraction from the mission of the VA. New leadership is needed to earn back the trust of veterans and military families and regain confidence that the VA can deliver answers and find solutions to fix the broken system," Tennant said. "But the broken VA system won’t be fixed simply by throwing one guy out for political show. I can tell you firsthand, our military families are tired of empty gestures, we see right through the politics, and we deserve real results."
“Washington needs to be honest about the deep and systemic problems within the VA. And every level of government, from Congress to the White House, needs to take responsibility for their role in failing our veterans, put down the talking points and start working together to do something real about the problem."
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today issued the following statement on the resignation of Eric Shinseki as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Eric Shinseki is an honorable and courageous man who devoted his life to protecting our nation, its service members and veterans. His decision to resign as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the right one, though I regret that he had to do it.
“The past decade has seen a dramatic rise in new VA claims and beneficiaries as veterans return from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, new policies have been introduced to fast-track disability claims for a range of new service-connected illnesses, placing additional stress on the VA. However, that’s no excuse for failing to provide care to veterans.
“Consecutive presidents and congresses have sought to address the growth in claims by increasing the VA’s budget every year since 2001, and by nearly 70 percent since 2009. And while the VA has been provided with the funding it asked for, recent accounts demonstrate that it is failing to prioritize its resources.
“We know the VA has too few doctors, outdated computer systems and too much bureaucracy. These are superficial challenges that can—and must—be addressed. We must also fix their root causes: poor VA decision making at the national level about how to prioritize resources coupled with a culture that tolerates dishonest behavior.
“The VA must now devote itself entirely to reform. I have urged the Obama Administration to expedite its internal review of the VA, to embrace its findings, good or bad, and to act decisively to hold VA officials to account for their performance.
“We are obligated as a government to provide for the defense of the nation and for the care of our defenders. We know what the problems with the VA medical system are, and are learning new details every day. We must now act promptly and firmly to implement the solutions and to ensure that our veterans are provided with quality care.”
Congressman Robert Hurt (R-Virginia) today released the following statement in response to the resignation of Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Eric Shinseki:
“I thank Secretary Shinseki for his service to our country and his willingness to accept responsibility for the failures that have occurred during his tenure as Secretary of the VA. As we move forward, we must recognize that one man alone is not responsible for the broken system of veterans health care – the VA must be meaningfully and structurally reformed to ensure that our veterans receive the level of care they so genuinely deserve. Our nation’s veterans have made countless sacrifices in the name of our liberty, and it is of the utmost importance that we continue to promote greater accountability within the VA to restore our commitment to those who serve.”