The resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki was way overdue and yet another symbol of the "non-accountability and incompetence" of the Obama administration, U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas says.
"It’s about time that at least one head would roll," Huelskamp, a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, told "The Steve Malzberg Show'' on Newsmax TV.
President Barack Obama on Friday said he had accepted Shinseki's resignation "with considerable regret,'' a sentiment Huelskamp found "outrageous.''
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"We've got secret waiting lists at nearly every VA facility, we have veterans dead … because of the former secretary's failure and President Obama reluctantly accepts his resignation and gives him a verbal presidential medal of honor?'' Huelskamp said.
"It's shocking and outrageous, but this scandal typifies what is replicated, I believe, across the entire administration: a culture of non-accountability and incompetence.
"We see this at the VA, we've seen it, obviously, as well, in the Obamacare failed rollout, the IRS scandal, Benghazi, take your pick. It's non-accountability and incompetence, and it's good to see him go.''
Shinseki's days were considered numbered as the Veterans Affairs healthcare scandal mushroomed from one facility in Phoenix to across the country.
It erupted earlier this month when allegations emerged of chronically ill veterans being placed on secret waiting lists, with the deaths of at least 40. There was also allegedly a cover-up of the scandal.
"At least 40 dead veterans. What do you say to that? Do you think Shinseki did a pretty good job for them? It's a culture of unwillingness to accept responsibility, not be accountable, that somehow this is somebody else's fault, it's not the secretary's fault, and it's certainly not the president's fault,'' Huelskamp said.
"We have 341,000 employees over there, and they go blame the guy at the top, but it's an entire culture in the VA, as well as the entire administration of incompetence and non-accountability.
"I have on my desk nine years of reports, 35 different reports outlining this particular problem at the VA and numerous others and act like they just heard about it. This was going on. The president knew about it.''
Huelskamp called for the formation of a "truly independent commission" outside the VA to "come in and tell these 341,000 bureaucrats that the veterans come first.''
He called the VA scandal worse than the problems plaguing the Affordable Care Act.
"This scandal just deepens further, and it's going to get worse and worse,'' Huelskamp said.
On Friday, Politico
released a chapter from Hillary Clinton's upcoming memoir, "Hard Choices,''
in which she addresses the Benghazi attack, now being probed by a Republican-led House Select Committee.
The former secretary of state writes: "Those who exploit this tragedy over and over as a political tool minimize the sacrifice of those who served our country …"
Huelskamp said Clinton is "clearly" worried about what happened in Benghazi.
"Not because of the people who died and because of those families still trying to get answers, but because of how it might affect her political career,'' he said.
He added that the House Select Committee would not be necessary if the Obama administration would open up about Benghazi and its aftermath.
"All we need are answers. Just tell us where you were, Mr. President, tell us who made the decision to let these folks die over in Libya? Tell us the truth, and there's no need" for the committee,' Huelskamp said.
"They're stonewalling the investigation, which means that they're covering something up. Which is also the case at the VA. They're covering it up.
"The president wants to cover up the VA, Hillary wants to cover up the Benghazi because it might affect them politically. You know what? Let's put the heat on, politically, we need the answers."
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