Boehner: Obama 'Must Make Things Right' in VA

Friday, 30 May 2014 01:53 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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House Speaker John Boehner put President Barack Obama on notice that despite Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki’s resignation, he still must "make things right" at the scandal-ridden agency.

"Gen. Shinseki has dedicated his life to our country, and we thank him for his service,"  the Ohio Republican said at a news conference Friday.

"His resignation, though, does not absolve the president of his responsibility to step in and make things right for our veterans. Business as usual cannot continue."

He continued, "As a first step, the Senate should immediately take up the House-passed VA Management Accountability Act.

"And until the president outlines his vision and an effective plan for addressing the broad dysfunction at the VA, today's announcement really changes nothing. A one-personnel change cannot be used as an excuse to paper over a systemic problem.

"Our veterans deserve better, and we will make the president accountable until he makes things right."

The VA has been embroiled in a scandal surrounding falsified wait times for treatment of veterans that resulted in the death of at least 40 veterans at a Phoenix hospital, and has since spread to more medical centers in the VA system.

After making his statement, Boehner was asked whether the GOP had been pushing for Shinseki to resign purely for political purposes.

"There is broad bipartisan concerns about what is happening at the VA, and the treatment that is being denied to our veterans," he replied during the news conference in Washington, D.C.

"These people put their lives on the lines for our country, and they deserve better, much better, [treatment] than they are getting today."

He said the president should order the VA to cooperate with a current congressional investigation.

"In addition, the president has to outline … how we get to the bottom of the problems of the VA, and how do we make sure that veterans who are waiting for care are getting access to care sooner rather than later."

He added, "If the waiting times at the VA continue as they are, we have to find a way to get the veterans the care they need now."

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