Rep. Jeff Miller: VA in 'Defensive Mode'

Image: Rep. Jeff Miller: VA in 'Defensive Mode'

Friday, 16 May 2014 09:11 AM

By Wanda Carruthers

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Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki on Thursday showed his department was in a "defensive mode," said Rep. Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

"They are still in a defensive mode," the Florida Republican told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Friday. "They're not coming forward and telling all of the facts."

Miller said Shinseki gave a "terrible appearance and performance" Thursday when he faced the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to answer questions about the VA scandal involving reported secret wait lists for veterans seeking healthcare. Whistleblowers claim as many as 40 veterans died awaiting care at a facility in Phoenix.

Miller said he wasn't sure he had confidence Shinseki is able to address the problems facing the VA, but maintained he wasn't "ready to call for the secretary's resignation."

'I don't know that he is capable of making the change that needs to be made to the bureaucracy that exists out there," Miller said.

Either Shinseki wasn't "being told the truth by his subordinates," or he wasn't able to "move the bureaucracy of 330,000 employees in a direction that is much more acceptable for veterans that they're supposed to be serving," Miller said.

"It is such a large bureaucracy that one single person may not be able to do it," he said.

Miller said he had heard reports a new secret wait list involving mental health patients had surfaced at the Gainesville, Fla.,  VA hospital.

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