House, Senate Leaders Praise Shinseki, but Support Change at Top
House and Senate leaders on Friday extolled outgoing Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki as an honorable public servant, but praised his resignation amid reports of excessive wait times at VA health care facilities.
At the same time, Republicans indicated that their demands for oversight and accountability will continue despite the Cabinet secretary’s departure.
“Until the president outlines a vision and an effective plan for addressing the broad dysfunction at the VA, today’s announcement really changes nothing,” Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio told reporters. “One personnel change cannot be used as an excuse paper over a systemic problem.”
Boehner said the Senate should take up the House-passed bill that would allow the VA secretary to fire under-performing managers, a bill to which Shinseki objected, saying he already has that power. The speaker also said President Barack Obama should order VA officials to cooperate with congressional investigators.