NC delegation reacts to Shinseki resignation
Posted May 30, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina lawmakers released the following statements Friday on the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.
U.S. Rep. David Price, Democrat and member of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee
“I remain deeply troubled by the irresponsible and unacceptable scheduling practices uncovered by the VA Inspector General’s preliminary report. I respect Secretary Shinseki’s decision to resign and hope it will allow Congress to act on the IG’s complete report, without delay or distraction, to fix the problems and hold those responsible accountable.
“I expect the VA’s review to be proactive, not reactive. The VA needs to look at all of its processes, from top to bottom, from the time veterans walk in the door until their treatment is complete, to ensure they are receiving timely, quality care. Obsolete systems and processes need to be identified and replaced, and personnel levels must be commensurate with the needs of our nation’s veteran population. I will work to ensure my subcommittee is a partner in overseeing and funding the effort to meet the needs of a 21st century VA. Anything less would be a disservice to veterans and to the many exemplary VA employees who care for those who have served our country.”
U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, Republican
"The management of our veterans' healthcare is not only a sacred trust, but a moral responsibility to the men and women who sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy today. The reports of gross mismanagement, neglect and utter incompetence at VA centers across the country is shameful and requires full accountability. While I respect the decision by Secretary Shinseki to resign amid these new revelations, the disasters facing our veterans and their healthcare remains and it must be improved immediately."
"For far too long, our veterans have been neglected and left to navigate the confusing and misguided bureaucracies within the VA system on their own. These are deep and pervasive problems that will not be solved by replacing a few leaders at the top - it will require a thorough review of how our government provides healthcare to our veterans and how officials can be pushed to promote excellence, accountability, innovation and efficiency. I will continue to fight on behalf of our veterans and work with our local VA hospitals to ensure these changes are being made. Those who sacrificed everything for our republic deserve the quality and competent care they earned."
U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, Republican
“I know this was a difficult decision for a decorated veteran. Secretary Shinseki built a career on tackling the tough challenges placed in front of him, and I thank him for his long and distinguished service to our nation. However, it was the right decision, as new leadership was needed at the agency. Along with new leadership, Congress must act to empower veterans facing unacceptable wait times at the VA with choice.
“It must be reiterated that this problem is not about Phoenix but about the entire VA system and this one resignation will not solve the problem. This is not new, not contained within one facility, and not just about secret waitlists. We have a long, well document history of reports from Inspector General, Government Accountability Office, and the Medical Inspector about the disturbing problems within the Department. The steps that have been taken by Secretary Shinseki to freeze bonuses and fire individuals at the Phoenix facility has done nothing to address the other 41 facilities currently under active investigation.
“I look forward to working with Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson in his efforts to chart a new course for this troubled agency, and put it to work for all veterans.”
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, Democrat
"The Inspector General’s report outlining systemic problems at the VA is appalling, and I have said that we must hold those responsible accountable. Secretary Shinseki has served our country honorably. However, I believe his decision to step aside at this moment is appropriate and will allow the VA to move forward with new leadership to implement the necessary reforms and restore our veterans' trust in VA leadership.
“But our work is only beginning. The investigations and accountability must proceed, and we should make every effort in the coming weeks and months to implement reforms that ensure nothing like this happens again. North Carolina is home to nearly 800,000 veterans, and I remain committed to ensuring we are keeping the promises we have made to the men and women in uniform who have sacrificed to protect our country and our freedoms.”