Kinzinger: Time for Shinseki to Step Down

Sunday, 18 May 2014 04:48 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Rep. Adam Kinzinger says he hasn't been one to "jump on the resignation bandwagon" in the wake of growing outrage toward Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki over delays in care for ailing veterans at numerous VA facilities, but now he thinks that time has come.

"This has gone from incompetence to something criminal," the Illinois Republican told NBC "Meet the Press" host David Gregory Sunday. "I think it's time for Shinseki to resign. He's a great American, but [they need] somebody there who knows how to fix the problem.

Kinzinger, a veteran who served in Iraq, remains in the Air National Guard, and said that when he got elected in 2010, the issue of the VA backlog was on the front burner even then.

Story continues below video.

"People were talking about it," said Kinzinger. "There was talk a year ago of should we ask for Shinseki's resignation."

Meanwhile, Kinzinger does not think that the VA should eliminated, but noted he has proposed a bill that allows veterans to visit a local doctor if they are miles away from a VA facility.

But as far as the current situation is concerned, he said he is surprised that President Barack Obama "has made every decision he can to avoid it looking like he's making some kind of leadership decision."

It's time, Kinzinger said, for Obama to "make a leadership decision" and put new leadership in the VA who can help solve the backlog issue.

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