McCain: 'It's Now Time' for Shinseki to Step Down at VA

Wednesday, 28 May 2014 04:42 PM

By John A. Oswald

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Sen. John McCain said Wednesday "it's now time" for Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign after a new report painted an even grimmer picture of the agency's failure to properly serve the nation's military veterans.

"I haven’t said this before, but I think it’s time for General Shinseki to — to move on," McCain told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

Urgent: Should General Shinseki Resign? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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The Arizona Republican also called on the FBI to get involved to see if criminal charges are warranted.

McCain and fellow Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake had said on May 19 that they wanted to see Shinseki testify before a House committee while he still held the top job so that he could be held accountable for his agency's actions.

But there's been no letup the past few weeks of new reports about the VA's broken health care program.

A whistleblower has alleged far-reaching fraud by senior officials at a Texas VA hospital and compared operations at the facility to "an organized crime syndicate."

Of the Phoenix VA facility, a preliminary report found that hundreds of patients not only failed to get care but never even made it to a wait list, the Washington Times reported.

"We identified an additional 1,700 veterans who were waiting for a primary care appointment but were not on the [electronic wait list,]” the report from the VA inspector general said. “Most importantly, these veterans were and continue to be at risk of being forgotten or lost in Phoenix [healthcare system’s] convoluted scheduling process. As a result, these veterans may never obtain a requested or required clinical appointment.”

McCain told CNN he fears the news will only get worse.

“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,” McCain said

"This keeps piling up. And it can’t be just an isolated — the VA Phoenix VA is not an island. It’s not immune to other influences. Every other VA is probably going to have these same influences on them because they were trying to comply with guidelines that were laid down from the headquarters of VA which they couldn’t meet."

Urgent: Should General Shinseki Resign? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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