Georgia Democratic Rep. David Scott fumed on the House floor Wednesday saying that he was “very disappointed” in President Obama and calling for the removal of Sec. of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki amid a scandal gripping VA hospitals.
Scott is co-sponsoring a bill that would allow Congress to “replace and be able to fire” senior Veterans Administration executives.
Administrators at VA hospitals throughout the U.S. have reportedly been keeping secret lists of veterans in order to hide treatment delays.
Forty veterans on the lists may have died while awaiting treatment at the Phoenix hospital, CNN reported. Twenty-six hospitals are being investigated.
In a fiery House speech, Scott offered harsh words for Shinseki and Obama over the current scandal as well as other shortcomings within the agency.
Scott said that he and Republican House Veterans Affairs committee chairman Jeff Miller visited the Atlanta VA hospital where he said administrators assured them that no more veterans had committed suicide.
“And they told a damn lie! Because the very next day it was exposed there was another solider that committed suicide. And they covered it up,” said Scott.
The Congressman also expressed frustration at what he considers Obama’s lack of urgency.
“I listened to the President today, and I was very disappointed with President Obama today,” he said. “There was no urgency. Mr. President, we need urgency, we need you to roll up our sleeves and get into these hospitals!”
Shinseki, a retired Army four-star general, has said that he will not resign as head of the Veterans Administration. In Senate testimony last week, he said he was “mad as hell” over the reports of the secret lists.
“It is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period,” Obama told reporters Wednesday after meeting with Shinseki. He said he will not fire Shinseki, though a special counsel has been appointed to investigate the scandal.
Last week, Miller proposed a bill allowing the head of the Veterans Affairs Department greater leeway in firing poorly-performing senior executives. Miller said on the House floor Wednesday that the current administration is “calcified in bureaucratic red tape.” The bill has bi-partisan support.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio submitted a companion bill in the Senate.