Republican Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran called for Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign Tuesday, becoming the first lawmaker to call for Shinseki’s resignation.
“Today I am demanding accountability and true transformation within the VA system and its culture from top to bottom and all across the country. Secretary Shinseki seemingly is unable or unwilling to do so and change must be made at the top. I ask the secretary to submit his resignation and I ask President Obama to accept that resignation,” Moran said on the Senate floor.
Moran joins the American Legion and Concerned Veterans for America in Shinseki’s resignation.
“Our veterans are losing hope that the VA will help them,” Moran said, calling VA “a culture that accepts mediocrity.”
Moran pointed to numerous VA problems including a sizable benefit claims backlog, 53 percent of which is comprised of veterans waiting more than 125 days to receive determination on their claims, and a 266-day average wait time for veterans submitting new claim applications. Moran also pointed to the existence of a “secret wait list” at a VA hospital in Phoenix that disenfranchised veterans and the closure of a VA emergency room in his home state. (RELATED: VA destroyed veteran medical records to cancel backlogged exam requests)
“I’m still waiting on a response from the VA to explain the closure of an emergency room at the VA hospital in Topeka, Kansas,” Moran said.
“The VA’s failure is not a matter of resources. That’s always the easy answer. More money,” Moran said, citing President Obama’s recent statement that VA funding levels have increased more than any other agency in his government.
“It’s time to hold people accountable in order to force meaningful change. GAO reports, inspector general reports, VA whistleblowers all call for action…Veterans are waiting for action and yet the VA continues to operate in the same old bueracratic fashion…It’s clear that accountability at VA is absent. Oversight doesn’t mean much. And I sincerely and seriously question whether the leradership of the VA is capable and willing to enforce change. There’s a difference in wanting change and leading it to happen. Today I am demanding accountability and true transformation within the VA system and its culture from top to bottom and all across the country,” Moran said.