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)

Recent Headlines

in National

U.S., Cuba to restore diplomatic relations after 50 years

alangross

The major policy shift will end decades of hostile ties with the communist-ruled island.

in Viral Videos

Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake are just awkward teens at camp

15-overlay6

The boys are back at summer camp and they can't stop singing "Jumper" by Third Eye Blind.

in National

Menus will sport new calorie labels for alcohol

alcoholcalories

Restaurant drinkers will soon know how many calories are in their margarita or craft beer.

in National

113th Congress ends with more fights than feats

mcconnell

Congress has limped out of Washington, capping two years of legislating that was overshadowed by partisan clashes.

in National

Obamacare enrollment tops 2.5M

obamacare

Officials said demand for the health insurance plans jumped during the final week of 2015 open enrollment.