Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama on Wednesday vowed to fix the wrong at the Veterans Affairs (VA) and punish people responsible for the delayed care of veterans in VA hospitals.
ddressing the issue of long wait times and false record-keeping at VA hospitals for the first time since the scandal broke out three weeks ago, Obama said he is giving VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki until next week to complete his preliminary review of the problem. The President also gave Shinseki’s deputy chief of staff, Rob Nabors, one month to finalize a broader review of the VA health system.
Obama said if the allegations are true, he will not tolerate it. He also brushed aside calls for Shinseki’s resignation.
“Ric Shinseki has been a great soldier. He himself is a disabled veteran, and nobody cares more about our veterans than Ric Shinseki,” Obama said, according to Washington Post. “We’re going to work with him to solve the problem, but I am going to make sure that there is accountability throughout the system after I get the full report.”
Obama cited Shinseki for reducing the rate of homelessness among veterans to expanding access to the G.I. Bill.
The American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans group, complained of inappropriate scheduling procedures at VA medical facilities and called for Shinseki’s resignation for allegedly failing to correct the problem.
Republicans were dissatisfied with Obama’s pronouncements. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) described Obama’s remarks as insufficient and long overdue. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said there are no answers, leadership and accountability from the Obama administration.