VA Resignation Reaction
1:42 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Shinseki Resigns: Rep. Miller And Senator Nelson React

Eric Shinseki resigned as the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs on Friday, in what President Obama said was a decision spurred by a desire to not distract from efforts to fix the agency's problems. Earlier Friday, Shinseki spoke at a conference in Washington.
Credit Win McNamee/Getty Images

Once President Obama announced VA Secretary Shinseki's resignation Friday morning, Republican Congressman Jeff Miller, chair of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs issued a statement through a press release.  Here is the text of the statement:

"Everybody knows Eric Shinseki is an honorable man whose dedication to our country is beyond reproach. I thank him for his legacy of service to our nation. Unfortunately, Shinseki's tenure at the Department of Veterans Affairs will forever be tainted by a pervasive lack of accountability among poorly performing VA employees and managers, apparent widespread corruption among medical center officials and an unparalleled lack of transparency with Congress, the public and the press. Appropriately, Shinseki is taking the brunt of the blame for these problems, but he is not the only one within VA who bears responsibility. Nearly every member of Shinseki's inner circle failed him in a major way. Those who surrounded Shinseki shielded him from crucial facts and hid bad news reports, in the process convincing him that some of the department’s most serious, well documented and systemic issues were merely isolated incidents to be ignored. Eric Shinseki trusted the VA bureaucracy, and the VA bureaucracy let him down.”

 

“Right now, VA needs a leader who will take swift and decisive action to discipline employees responsible for mismanagement, negligence and corruption that harms veterans while taking bold steps to replace the department’s culture of complacency with a climate of accountability. VA’s problems are deadly serious, and whomever the next secretary may be, they will receive no grace period from America’s veterans, American taxpayers and Congress.”

Democratic Florida Senator Bill Nelson, senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee also released a statement on Shinseki's resignation.

“He did the right thing, and he’s putting his country first. This is a strong, patriotic general who stood up to Donald Rumsfeld about the length of time that we were going to have to be in Iraq. Now that he resigned, we can get on. There ought to be a lot of heads rolling, because there is something in the culture of the VA that is not responding to serve our veterans the very best that they deserve.”

Meanwhile, President Obama has appointed Sloan Gibson, a deputy Veteran Affairs secretary, as acting secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department.