Franken, Peterson, Walz call for VA chief Shinseki to resign

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki testifies before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee about wait times veterans face to get medical care May 15, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
  1. Listen MPR News reporter Brett Neely reports on the push for resignation of Shinseki

    May 29, 2014

Sen. Al Franken and fellow DFLers Rep. Tim  Walz and Rep. Collin Peterson have joined the chorus of lawmakers calling for Veterans Affairs chief Eric Shinseki to resign.

In a statement, Franken said that a new VA Inspector General report that reveals an agency medical center in Phoenix falsely reported wait times for treating patients prompted him to call for Shinseki’s ouster.

Here’s Franken’s statement:

“The Inspector General’s report is so troubling that I have come to the conclusion that the Department of Veterans Affairs needs new leadership. I believe it would be in the best interest of veterans for Secretary Shinseki to step down.

 “The VA needs to be delivering quality care to our veterans on a timely basis. Clearly there is a systemic problem that this leadership has not been addressing.

 “I call on the President to use all the resources at his disposal to remedy this disgraceful situation. Our veterans deserve no less.”

Walz, who serves on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said in a statement the findings of the report were “inexcusable and unacceptable.

“Secretary Shinseki is one of the most honorable and loyal men I have ever met. He’s dedicated his entire life to the betterment of our nation and caring for our brave men and women in uniform. It’s a shame that he and other veterans were let down by certain people working under him at the VA, but ultimately the buck stops with the Secretary. That is why today, I believe it would be best if Secretary Shinseki stepped down. We need to fix the systemic problems outlined in the IG report and restore veterans’ faith in the system.”

Franken  was one of just two Senate Democrats calling for Shinseki’s ouster. Many more Democrats in the House joined Walz, including 7th Congressional District Rep. Collin Peterson, who also called for Shinseki to step down on Wednesday evening.

“[I have] come to the conclusion that there needs to be accountability and new leadership and the best step forward is for the Secretary to offer his resignation,” Peterson said in a statement.

Other members of Minnesota’s delegation who are calling for Shinseki’s resignation are: Republicans Rep. John Kline and Rep. Michele Bachmann and Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan.