News

Veteran’s Affairs secretary won’t resign, is ‘angry’ over claims

Veteran’s Affairs secretary won’t resign, is ‘angry’ over claims

WOUNDED WARRIORS:President Barack Obama, accompanied by Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, left, welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride as they circle the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 17. The cyclists were in specially built bikes that could accommodate amputations or other injuries. Photo: Associated Press/J. Scott Applewhite

(Reuters) – U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said on Wednesday he was “angry” over claims that as many as 40 people died while waiting for medical care in the veterans’ healthcare system and wants a full investigation, but does not plan to resign.

“What I want veterans to know … this is a good, quality healthcare system, not perfect, and when we stumble across our imperfections we’re going to do something about it, we get to the bottom of it, and to the best of our abilities assure it never happens again,” Shinseki said in an interview on NBC News.

Shinseki also said he was angry. Asked if he would resign, he said he serves “at the pleasure of the president.”

Some Republican lawmakers have called for Shinseki’s resignation. They include Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, who said on Tuesday the Veterans Affairs Department needed a “true transformation … from top to bottom.”

Veterans Affairs is the biggest U.S. healthcare system, with

1,700 hospitals, clinics and other facilities. It has nearly 9 million people enrolled.

The VA secretary put the director of a Phoenix hospital on indefinite leave last week while the department’s inspector general probes whistleblowers’ claims that up to 40 veterans may have died while waiting for medical appointments.

Two other hospital officials were also put on leave.

The American Legion, the biggest U.S. veterans group, and Concerned Veterans for America called on Monday for Shinseki, a former Army general twice wounded in Vietnam, to step down.

President Barack Obama has expressed support for Shinseki and the VA has defended his record.

Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, said on Monday firing him “doesn’t get us any closer to the truth or solve problems that may exist.”

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski and Ian Simpson; Editing by Paul Tait)

Recent Headlines

in National

Police seek motive in fatal Washington state school shooting

mp

Authorities are seeking a motive as to why a high school student shot dead a female classmate and wounded four others.

in National

Making headlines this week

AP977488553978

A look at some of this week's biggest newsmakers.

in National

Student opens fire in high school north of Seattle

People embrace in front of school busses at a church, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, where students were taken to be reunited with parents following a shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Wash.

A student opened fire at his Washington state high school on Friday, killing one person, and wounding at least four others.

in National

Evenflo recalls infant seats to fix sticky buckles

evenflo

More than 200,000 rear-facing car seats are being recalled.

in Local

Man Jailed For Columbine-Style Threat Against Frontier

Schauer

A 19-year-old Sunderland man is behind bars after threatening to commit a mass shooting at Frontier Regional School