More Than 100 in Congress Say Shinseki Must Go

Thursday, 29 May 2014 09:39 PM

By John A. Oswald

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The waves of lawmakers demanding Gen. Eric Shinseki resign or be fired from his VA post have turned into a tsunami with the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Steve Israel, joining the growing surge.

By day's end Thursday, two dozen senators and 89 House members were aboard the Shinseki-must-go bandwagon, ABC News, which is maintaining a running count, said.

The tally of 66 Republican House members far outnumbers the 23 Democrats, but in the Senate the numbers are far closer with 13 Republicans and 11 Democrats.

Israel was included in the House list. He had earlier told CNN, "I'm fed up with these problems. He should resign."

ABC's list of Republican senators who say Shinseki's time is up: Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire; Richard Burr, North Carolina; John Cornyn, Texas, Jeff Flake, Arizona; Deb Fischer, Nebraska; Dean Heller, Nevada; John McCain, Arizona; Mitch McConnell, Kentucky; Jerry Moran, Kansas; Rob Portman, Ohio; Pat Roberts, Kansas; Marco Rubio, Florida; and Tim Scott, South Carolina.

The Democrats are: Al Franken, Minnesota; Kay Hagan, North Carolina; Martin Heinrich, New Mexico; Jeff Merkley, Oregon; Tim Kaine, Virginia; Mary Landrieu, Louisiana; Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire; Mark Udall, Colorado; Tom Udall, New Mexico; John Walsh, Montana; and Mark Warner, Virginia.

Mark Udall, a Senate Armed Services Committee member who faces a tough re-election challenge from GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, was the first Democrat senator to turn on Shinseki and his call came with a homestate bent: "We need new leadership who will demand accountability to fix these problems and ensure the VA is providing Coloradans the services they've earned."

Walsh said, "America's veterans deserve an immediate end to the troubles plaguing the VA, and we must take urgent steps to secure the care they deserve."

McCain, citing the scandal's impact on the Phoenix VA, where as many as 1,700 vets didn't even make to a waiting list for those needing care, added his name to the list.

"It's time for General Shinseki to — to move on," McCain told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I have never detected such anger on the part of all of our citizens, but most of all, amongst our veterans, as I'm feeling here while being back here in Arizona."

Among the House Republicans calling on Shinseki — a four-star general who lost part of his foot in Vietnam — to quit are: Michele Bachmann, Minnesota; Jim Bridenstine, Oklahoma; Susan Brooks, Indiana; Sherry Moore Capito, West Virginia; Chris Collins, New York; Rodney Davis, Illinois; Cory Gardner, Colorado; Paul Gosar, Arizona; Jeb Hensarling, Texas; Richard Hudson, North Carolina; Adam Kinzinger, Illinois; Kevin McCarthy, California; House Jeff Miller, Florida; Mike Rogers, Alabama; Steve Southerland, Florida; Steve Stivers, Ohio; and Ted Yoho, Florida.

McCarthy, the majority whip, was among the first Republicans out of the gate. He said Shinseki "has served his country with honor and integrity. No one doubts his dedication to our nation's veterans …However, the current state of the VA is wholly unacceptable and has become a national embarrassment. I call on General Shinseki to do what is right and step aside as secretary effective immediately."

Hensarling, who is considering a challenge to John Boehner as Speaker, said: "As head of the VA, Secretary Shinseki bears ultimate responsibility for any misconduct at the department during his tenure. Today's interim report from the Inspector General confirms that the problems of neglect and mistreatment are worse than the initial allegations that shocked the nation. While I appreciate General Shinseki's years of military service to this nation, there must be accountability.

Boehner says he's still deciding. "I'm going to continue to reserve judgment on General Shinseki," Boehner said. "The question I ask myself is, is him resigning going to get us to the bottom of the problem, is it going to help us find out what is really going on? The answer is no."

House Democrats calling for Shinseki to go include: Ron Barber, Arizona; John Barrow, Georgia; Bruce Braley, Iowa; Derek Kilmer, Washington; Jerry McNerney, California; Rick Nolan, Minnesota, Gary Peters, Michigan; and Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona.

The numbers are expected to grow after White House press secretary Jay Carney refused to directly answer ABC's Jonathan Karl's query Thursday President Barack Obama has confidence in Shinseki.

Karl earlier blogged: "White House officials are doing nothing to tamp down speculation that VA Secretary Eric Shinseki will soon be out the door. Now that the VA's inspector general has confirmed wrongdoing in Phoenix and expanded the investigation to 42 VA facilities across the country, the scandal has moved beyond the "allegations" stage. The President promised accountability and officials acknowledge could come at the top. There is a clear sense at the White House that Secretary Shinseki is on thin ice."

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