Minnesota delegates demand new Veterans Affairs leadership - KMSP-TV

Minnesota delegates demand new Veterans Affairs leadership

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Democrats from Minnesota’s congressional delegation are calling for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki following an internal investigation with “inexcusable and unacceptable” findings.

The internal investigation into the VA revealed up to 1,700 patients were put on an unofficial wait list.

The VA’s inspector general said people on the list were at the Phoenix VA hospital and were denied coverage for up to 115 days. However, they could not confirm if any of the delayed medical help contributed to any veterans' deaths.

Some lawmakers say this scandal is an opportunity to fix the VA system through new leadership and accountability.

“For years, the systemic problems at the VA have made it difficult to get our nation’s veterans the care they deserve. It is clear that new leadership is needed. Secretary Shinseki has had over five years to make progress in reducing the claims backlog and improve the department to the level that our veterans deserve. It appears we are moving backwards from this goal. In light of the new revelations, I am asking that Secretary Shinseki resign from his position at the VA." - Rep. Erik Paulsen (R)

“The Inspector General’s report is so troubling that I have come to the conclusion that the Department of Veterans Affairs needs new leadership. I believe it would be in the best interest of veterans for Secretary Shinseki to step down. The VA needs to be delivering quality care to our veterans on a timely basis. Clearly there is a systemic problem that this leadership has not been addressing. I call on the president to use all the resources at his disposal to remedy this disgraceful situation. Our veterans deserve no less.” – Sen. Al Franken (D)

“My number one goal as both a veteran and a Member of the VA Committee is to ensure our veterans get the support and care they have earned and deserve. The findings in the VA Inspector General’s interim report are inexcusable and unacceptable. The IG’s report makes it clear that some veterans have been let down in unfathomable ways and those responsible must be held accountable.” - Rep. Tim Walz (D)

"My first focus is making the system more accountable and that is why I am supporting legislation to make it easier to replace senior officials found responsible for mismanagement and mistreating our veterans. I am very troubled by the fact that the VA was not able to better identify these problems and solve them before they got to this point. General Shinseki is a man of great courage and someone who has done many good things for our nation's veterans, but based on my review of this critical report today, I believe that the Department needs new leadership in order to gain back the trust of our veterans and solve these serious problems." – Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D)

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