DR. MICHAEL KUSSMAN GETS STRONG SUPPORT AT CONFIRMATION HEARING
During a hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs held on Wednesday, Dr. Michael Kussman received strong support from a number of Senators and influential advocates regarding his nomination to be the Under Secretary for Health of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In that role he will serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). He has been the acting Under Secretary since last August.
"When you add Mike's qualifications together with the enormous passion for the job he displayed during my interview with him, and then you wrap that passion around the integrity and character of this gentleman, I find someone with more than just qualifications. I find the right man for the job," said Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), the top Republican on the Committee.
Craig's comments were echoed by Sen. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), who also expressed his strong support for Kussman. The Bush administration's nominee worked as a physician for almost 40 years and retired as a U.S. Army Brigadier General after serving for over 20 years.
The committee is expected to vote on his nomination on Tuesday, May 22.
In addition to the support Craig and Burr extended, Kussman also received support at the hearing from the nation's top veterans groups.
"The VFW sincerely believes Dr. Michael Kussman is the right person to lead the Veterans Health Administration and we cast our unanimous votes - our shares - for his immediate confirmation," said Bob Wallace, executive director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. "Mr. Chairman, as I mentioned earlier, the VFW is joined by the AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the Vietnam Veterans of America in strongly supporting the nomination of Dr. Michael Kussman."
The medical care budget for VHA is approximately $35 billion. It employs nearly 200,000 health care professionals at more than 1,300 sites, including hospitals, community and facility-based clinics, nursing homes, and more. In addition to its medical care mission, VHA is the nation's largest provider of graduate medical education and a major contributor to medical and scientific research.