The Washington Post

VA’s Shinseki vows to stay on the job

[posttv url="http://www.washingtonpost.com/posttv/politics/timeline-how-the-va-scandal-unfolded/2014/05/22/60a2322a-e1e3-11e3-9442-54189bf1a809_video.html" ]

 

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said Thursday that he intends to remain on the job to address allegations of mismanagement and delayed care for military veterans, adding that he has not offered his resignation to President Obama because of the recent controversy

Shinseki has faced increasing calls for him to step down this week amid allegations that VA officials improperly delayed scheduling appointments for some veterans. Obama expressed support for Shinseki on Wednesday, saying he expected him to stay on the job. But congressional leaders are growing increasingly concerned and impatient with an ongoing review of allegations at more than two dozen sites across the country.

In a brief interview Thursday with a small group of reporters, Shinseki was asked why he thought he was the best person for the job. "Others get to make that call, right? I serve at the pleasure of the president," he said. When a reporter noted that he's been "under the gun" this week, Shinseki quickly replied: “This is not the first time."

Shinseki is a former Army general who served two tours of duty in Vietnam and later earned a Purple Heart when he lost part of his right foot in battle.

"I came here to do one thing: Which is to take care of veterans and families. We’ve run hard for five years, I think we have good things to show for it, there’s more to be done," he said.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki told reporters Thursday that he plans to stay on the job to address allegations of mismanagement at his department's medical facilities. "Every day I come to work, the idea is to make things better for veterans," he said. (Ed O'Keefe/The Washington Post)

[RELATED: Hear audio of the Shinseki interview]

VA officials began a nationwide audit of facilities this week and Shinseki said the review is "about halfway through." He expects to be able to present Obama with some initial findings by next week.

Asked if he had offered his resignation to Obama, Shinseki said: “No. You guys know me better than that.”

He said he had "no idea" if Obama was only planning to keep him on the job until he makes any necessary changes. "The president asked me to take this responsibility, gave me certain things he wanted me to accomplish, I’m doing that."

"Every day I come to work, the idea is to make things better for veterans," he added. "This is Memorial Day weekend and we have a lot to be thankful for, and a lot to remember. Veterans have done so much for this country. I happen to be a veteran and I understand what this is about and they deserve our best work. They’re going to get it."

Shinseki was on Capitol Hill for about a 30-minute meeting with Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), who had requested information on allegations against VA facilities in Illinois and for an update on the ongoing audits.

The secretary's visit came just a few hours after House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said "I'm getting a little closer" to calling for Shinseki's resignation amid reports of problems at VA facilities in his home state of Ohio and elsewhere.

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The New Hampshire primary is Tuesday. Get caught up on the race.
The feminist appeal may not be working for Clinton
In New Hampshire, Sen. Bernie Sanders is beating Clinton among women by eight percentage points, according to a new CNN-WMUR survey. This represents a big shift from the results last week in the Iowa caucuses, where Clinton won women by 11 points.
The Post's Dan Balz says ...
This was supposed to be the strongest Republican presidential field in memory, but cracks are showing. At Saturday night's debate, Marco Rubio withered in the face of unyielding attacks from Chris Christie, drawing attention to the biggest question about his candidacy: Is he ready to be president? How much the debate will affect Rubio's standing Tuesday is anybody's guess. But even if he does well, the question about his readiness to serve as president and to go up against Clinton, if she is the Democratic nominee, will linger.
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote, but Marco Rubio has recently seen a jump in his support, according to polls.
New Hampshire polling averages
A victory in New Hampshire revitalized Hillary Clinton's demoralized campaign in 2008. But this time, she's trailing Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont. She left the state Sunday to go to Flint, Mich., where a cost-saving decision led to poisonous levels of lead in the water of the poor, heavily black, rust-belt city. 
55% 40%
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
State of the race
Most Read

politics

post-politics

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.