A staunch advocate for South Jersey veterans, U.S. Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today called for the resignation of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki amid the growing revelations of mistreatment of veterans at VA hospitals and facilities across the country. On May 5th, the American Legion called for VA Secretary Shinseki's resignation.
"There are no words to justify the horrific treatment and disrespect some veterans have received and no action short of resignation that Secretary Shinseki could take that would begin to repair the extensive breach of trust with those who sacrificed so much for our country. By not demanding his resignation at their meeting today, President Obama is not listening to our nation's veterans who are looking for leadership from the Commander-in-Chief," LoBiondo unequivocally stated. "The deplorable actions of those charged with providing critical healthcare and service to our nation's veterans must be prosecuted to the fullest. Likewise, the systemic failure of leadership under Secretary Shinseki that allowed such acts to become commonplace must end immediately."
National media reports have detailed the existence of "secret waiting lists" that have falsified the length of time that some veterans have waited for access to healthcare treatment at some VA hospitals and clinics. Furthermore, whistle-blower reports have raised additional questions as to the adequate care of some veterans. Secretary Shinseki has been at the helm of the VA since 2009.
In an effort to address the growing concerns of mismanagement at the VA, the House today will vote on the "Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014" (H.R. 4031). Introduced by House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (FL-01), the bipartisan bill authorizes the accelerated removal of any senior management personnel at the VA upon determining that such individual's performance warrants removal, and remove such individual from federal service. The discretion for such action would reside with whoever was serving as Secretary of the VA. LoBiondo is a cosponsor of the legislation.
"We can't retroactively correct the gross mismanagement and incompetent decisions made by senior VA officials at the detriment of our veterans, but we can quicken their removal from service and prevent future harm. This bipartisan legislation should be quickly acted on by the Senate and fully supported by the President," concluded LoBiondo.
The legislation is supported by the American Legion, AMVETS, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and Concerned Veterans for America.