News

Veteran’s Affairs secretary won’t resign, is ‘angry’ over claims

Veteran’s Affairs secretary won’t resign, is ‘angry’ over claims

WOUNDED WARRIORS:President Barack Obama, accompanied by Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, left, welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride as they circle the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 17. The cyclists were in specially built bikes that could accommodate amputations or other injuries. Photo: Associated Press/J. Scott Applewhite

(Reuters) – U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said on Wednesday he was “angry” over claims that as many as 40 people died while waiting for medical care in the veterans’ healthcare system and wants a full investigation, but does not plan to resign.

“What I want veterans to know … this is a good, quality healthcare system, not perfect, and when we stumble across our imperfections we’re going to do something about it, we get to the bottom of it, and to the best of our abilities assure it never happens again,” Shinseki said in an interview on NBC News.

Shinseki also said he was angry. Asked if he would resign, he said he serves “at the pleasure of the president.”

Some Republican lawmakers have called for Shinseki’s resignation. They include Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, who said on Tuesday the Veterans Affairs Department needed a “true transformation … from top to bottom.”

Veterans Affairs is the biggest U.S. healthcare system, with

1,700 hospitals, clinics and other facilities. It has nearly 9 million people enrolled.

The VA secretary put the director of a Phoenix hospital on indefinite leave last week while the department’s inspector general probes whistleblowers’ claims that up to 40 veterans may have died while waiting for medical appointments.

Two other hospital officials were also put on leave.

The American Legion, the biggest U.S. veterans group, and Concerned Veterans for America called on Monday for Shinseki, a former Army general twice wounded in Vietnam, to step down.

President Barack Obama has expressed support for Shinseki and the VA has defended his record.

Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, said on Monday firing him “doesn’t get us any closer to the truth or solve problems that may exist.”

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski and Ian Simpson; Editing by Paul Tait)

Latest Headlines

in Local

Maine House GOP Leader Proposes Overhaul of Energy Office

Fresh
GENERIC VOTING

A bill backed by the top Republican in the House and Gov. Paul LePage would create a Maine energy commissioner and give the governor the power to nominate the head of an independent agency that helps residents cut their energy bills.

in Local

Maine School Faculty Favors New Optional Pledge Proposal

Fresh
GENERIC AMERICAN FLAG

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ Faculty members at a Maine high school say they agree with a student proposal that…

in Local

Maine Gov. LePage Vetoes First 3 Bills of His 2nd Term

Fresh
governorlepage

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ Republican Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed a handful of bills that deal with taxes in Maine.…

in Local

Driver Dies in Collision in Lincolnville, Maine

GENERIC ACCIDENT

Authorities say a man has died after his car crossed over into oncoming traffic and collided with a car in Lincolnville, Maine.

in Local

Eliot Cutler to Lead New Graduate Center for UMaine System

CUTLER

Former independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler will lead a new center designed to boost enrollment and strengthen graduate and professional programs in the University of Maine System.

Tweets

  • 28m
  • 2h
  • 2h
  • 2h
  • 4h
  • 5h
  • 5h