Embattled VA Chief Shinseki Resigns after Scandal
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki has resigned after a scathing internal report this week found systemic delays in medical care and misconduct at VA facilities.
President Barack Obama accepted the four-star general's resignation Friday during a 40-minute meeting with the embattled VA chief.
"A few minutes ago, Secretary Shinseki offered me his own resignation. With considerable regret, I accepted," the president told reporters.
On Thursday, Shinseki said he was moving quickly to fix the broken VA system, speaking privately with legislators and meeting with nearly two dozen veterans' groups on Thursday.
His promises, however, fell on deaf ears, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle calling for his resignation.
"This was not one rogue operation in Phoenix. This was a systemic failure, and it's time for change," Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., charged.
Is Shinseki's resignation an adequate example of accountability? Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice answers this and more, on CBN Newswatch, May 30.
Meanwhile, stories continue to pour in of veterans who say they were not only let down by the VA, but in the case of U.S. Army veteran Patty Phelps, left to die.
"The PA that saw me in the women's clinic there told me that I should go home and die gracefully, and so, I didn't take her at her suggestion," she said.
Instead, Phelps sought treatment outside of the VA, saying that's why she's alive today. But the cost of that treatment left her with nothing.
"I lost everything and I'm deep in debt," she said. "So... and people say, 'Well, just be glad you're alive'... At my age, it's a hard way to have to live."
The American Legion's Verna Jones told CBN News her group is constantly receiving calls from concerned and disappointed veterans.
"Their faith in the system is fading fast," Jones said. "And with that the American Legion is standing by. We want to help the VA so veterans' faith can be restored in that system."
"They deserve a system set up for them so they can receive great health care," she added. "They deserve that."
Even with Shinseki's resignation, the scandal reflects badly on the White House.
"Mr. Obama has never seemed interested in the management of government," Peggy Noonan, former speech writer for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
"It is completely believable that he read about the VA scandal in the newspapers, where he has learned of other administration scandals," she continued. "It is believable he had no idea what was going on in a major problem-plagued agency."
The scandal also highlights problems with the federal government's inability to fire bad employees. On average, only a fraction of 1 percent of federal employees is terminated - a far smaller percentage than in the private sector.
With federal salaries and benefits averaging more than $125,000, the mismanagement may well become a campaign issue this November.