President Barack Obama is demanding that Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki make immediate improvements for veterans, but has decided not to fire him, for now, as a scandal over allegations of manipulated wait time reports spreads to dozens of facilities, reports Steven Dennis of Roll Call .
“If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period,” Obama said in a statement in the White House briefing room, followed by a brief news conference.
Obama promised accountability and punishments for anyone found responsible for misconduct at VA facilities. And when asked about a possible Shinseki resignation, Obama said he wanted to see the reports come back on how widespread problems were at the department.
Meanwhile, Stars and Stripes reports that "the House passed a bill Wednesday that would give Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki new power to fire and demote senior executives in the troubled department."
"The vote came just hours after President Barack Obama spoke about the health care scandal involving patient deaths and possible VA misconduct across the country."
"The bill, which passed 390-33, takes aim at VA management by allowing the secretary to fire executives without administrative due process. Opponents in the House called it a knee-jerk reaction that would politicize executives and do little to solve deep problems with access at the agency."