May 30th, 2014
11:32 AM ET
3 months ago

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki resigns

(CNN) – Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has resigned, President Barack Obama said on Friday. Obama said he would demand accountability if problems were found at VA medical facilities, and accepted Shinseki's resignation. The two met at the White House before the President announced the the development, which came as political pressure mounted for the Cabinet officer to step down.

"I regret he has to resign under these circumstances," Obama said.

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Filed under: President Obama • Veterans Affairs
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. hammerhead

    the va has been second best for yrs...close it down ..let hospitals do what they do best ...better doctors ...

    May 30, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Donna wrote:

    Rudy, which one is it??? "Everyone knew about the long wait times for years and years and years." Because everyone includes Obama.

    or

    "But, the right wants to pretend that then Sen. Obama knew about the number fudging when he made those campaign promises"??? Are you denying that the Obama team was TOLD they could not trust the wait time numbers the massive VA bureaucracy was producing?
    --------------------------------
    Uh, you do realize that if then Sen. Obama was told in 2007 about wait times being unreliable, then that means that the Bush administration knew about it for years, and did absolutely nothing to correct it. Right? In fact, your narrative means that the Obama administration has covered up the acts of hanky-panky, which werer known to exist during the Bush years.

    May 30, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    -Rudy NYC
    Tommy G wrote:

    The person responsible for leading the organization that was repeatedly told there were major, systemic problems (GAO Congressional testimony in 2012, numberous IG reports, endless complaints from Vets) failed to fix them or address them in over 5.5 YEARS. It is called accountability, some he of all people, a former member of the military, should understand. Personally, I think the Obama political clowns were stopping him from resigning to save face for Obama. I believe he would have resigned earlier and cleared the way as he has now done.

    But you think he is a scapegoat?....
    --------–
    Yup, that and a sacrificial lamb. as well. When you take into consideration the fact that the V.A. administrative budget has been cut ever since the Tea Party rolled into town, I find the right wing's spin to be particularly appalling. It's like they purposely set it up to fail. The V.A. still primarily uses a paper based tracking system, and their computers cannot talk to the any of the military's computers. To top it all off, there is an acute shortage of doctors in the V.A.'s facilities.
    ************
    Of course they want it to fail, to make their point that anything the government touches is destroyed. The idea that the Right cares about our veterans is a farce, and their ideas for solutions are nothing more than the same tired crap they trot out for everything: have someone make a profit off of our vets, many of whom cannot afford private options. Of course that will not matter to the Right, as long as they get their pound of flesh and a good chuck of change.

    May 30, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Lizzie

    Rudy NYC, there are many problems out there, that those who deal with government know about, but the media does not report on, only if it is in their interest (ratings) will the general public hear about it.
    --------------------------–
    Like I told Donna, if then Sen. Obama knew about these problems when he campaigned in 2007, then that means that the Bush administration had also aware of them, probably for years. Systemic has the word to describe the problems at the V.A., which extend back decades and long before the Obama administration.

    May 30, 2014 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Dean

    Obama: "I'm really mad now!"

    May 30, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Sending men and woman into harms way is patriotic , paying for quality medical care in not .

    Mitt Romany / Chris Christie 2016

    May 30, 2014 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "to fix them or address them in over 5.5 YEARS."

    Shinseki failed in ONE way here. There was ONE report from the GAO that suggested the tip of the iceberg for THIS SPECIFIC SITUATION. He failed to investigate further or audit the Phoenix VA, which may have uncovered these SPECIFIC problems sooner.

    As for 5.5 years with respect to the generalized dissaray and decades of long-standing systemic problems for the VA? No. EVERYONE involved from both parties is a fault for failing to fix anything at the VA for the past several decades. The GOP/Teatrolls voted down funding, so you know where you can stuff your attempts to put it all on Obama alone.

    As for scapegoat, of course Shinseki is a scapegoat. You tell me how quickly an interview with a congresscritter (either party) would get shut down and followed by off-air threats of "you'll never have access to me again" if the questions I listed in my first post started getting asked of them during an interview. Fact: they are ALL at fault for this, they know it, they intend (for the most part) to do nothing real about it and they need to scapegoat someone so they have something to point at as "accountability" and "we held them responsible"...all while they pretend that their own negligent governance had nothing to do with it.

    May 30, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. Donna

    Rudy NYC
    Uh, you do realize that if then Sen. Obama was told in 2007 about wait times being unreliable, then that means that the Bush administration knew about it for years, and did absolutely nothing to correct it. Right? In fact, your narrative means that the Obama administration has covered up the acts of hanky-panky, which werer known to exist during the Bush years.
    --

    Rudy, the Bush administration told them what they knew and what they suspected. Anybody could see the enormous numbers of complaints from vets not getting treated in a timely manner and yet the VA reported numbers showed everything was just peachy keen. The GAO reported on this back in 2012. For Obama and Shinseki to pretend they didn't know there was still a major problem is a total farce. They just didn't do their job. I guess it helps them get more and more money as long as they can claim their are problems. And then throw money into bonuses for the people killing our vets with their scheduling scams.

    May 30, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  9. smith

    @Sniffit-The problems at the VA are decades old. As far as Bush goes, Bush increased funding to the VA and other veteran related programs more than any other potus in history.

    May 30, 2014 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. tom l

    Fact: they are ALL at fault for this, they know it, they intend (for the most part) to do nothing real about it and they need to scapegoat someone so they have something to point at as "accountability" and "we held them responsible"...all while they pretend that their own negligent governance had nothing to do with it.
    ======
    Who is this "they" that wanted the scapegoat that you speak of? Obama essentially fired him so he is the one who has given us the "scapegoat". I couldn't agree with you more that BOTH parties are responsible so why are you so hellbent on trying to deflect any criticism of the President. He's in charge. He's the one that is ultimately responsible at this time so how come you don't want to levy any blame on him? Especially since he campaigned on fixing the VA back in 2008 so he is the one who has made it his problem. You have to give Obama a ton of blame for this. There's no way around it. He's the president now so he should receive just as much criticism as any one – both repub and dem. Everyone is responsible for this but Obama is president. It's on him now just like it would have been on Bush had he been president. He's the president.

    May 30, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  11. Marie MD

    @donna in the teaklan bubble, you do realize that our President allotted $24M to the VA and your party of obstructionists made sure no money went for additional VA hospitals. This has been going on for decades, since after WWI, but the repugs are trying to work this to their advantage like the slimeballs they all are since Benghazi is not going to work. I am sure we will start hearing about impeachment soon.
    As far as your comment on "killing our vets" we wouldn't have this problem if the shrub #43 had not tried to finish the war his daddy couldn't by lying about WMDs.

    May 30, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  12. NC

    John McCain for VA Secretary, Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense. He has all the answers for veterans, foreign policy and the military and is a Mensa Member.

    May 30, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. The REAL Truth...

    Donna, strong the naivete with this one is!! And your selective memory is working overtime.. Remember Walter Reed back in 2007?? Plenty of earlier examples too. The "conditions" of that type of facility is what Senator Obama was talking about fixing, which he actually did. The scheduling scams didn't start up in Jan 2009 (much as I'm sure you believe), and the REAL total farce is that the right wing is blissfully unaware that the wait times were to see specialists, not regular visits. Try getting an appt with a specialist as a new patient in the private sector... 6 weeks to 90 days minimum – depending on the specialty.

    May 30, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Donna

    Rudy NYC
    Uh, you do realize that if then Sen. Obama was told in 2007 about wait times being unreliable, then that means that the Bush administration knew about it for years, and did absolutely nothing to correct it. Right? In fact, your narrative means that the Obama administration has covered up the acts of hanky-panky, which werer known to exist during the Bush years.
    -

    Rudy, the Bush administration told them what they knew and what they suspected. Anybody could see the enormous numbers of complaints from vets not getting treated in a timely manner and yet the VA reported numbers showed everything was just peachy keen. The GAO reported on this back in 2012. For Obama and Shinseki to pretend they didn't know there was still a major problem is a total farce. They just didn't do their job. I guess it helps them get more and more money as long as they can claim their are problems. And then throw money into bonuses for the people killing our vets with their scheduling scams.
    ============================================================
    Confirmed. The right wing narrative says that the Bush administration knew about the date fudging, told candidate Obama about it as early as 2007, and did nothing about the problem itself. Right? Did I miss anything?

    May 30, 2014 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    Jay Carney has resigned. Didn't see that coming.

    May 30, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  16. Donna

    Sniffit
    The GOP/Teatrolls voted down funding, so you know where you can stuff your attempts to put it all on Obama alone.
    --

    Got any more lies to throw out there? They are all so easily proven lies. Why do you all lie so much when it is so easy to prove you liars? Do you think you are Obama and get away with it?

    Wall Street Journal reports:

    WASHINGTON—The Department of Veterans Affairs, the agency caught in a political firestorm over its medical care for veterans, has seen its funding grow faster than any other government department in recent years.
    Since 2000, annual spending has tripled to $63 billion to meet a surge in health-care and other costs. That is on top of the more than $85 billion the VA is set to receive this year for automatic payments such as disability benefits and pensions, a tally that has more than tripled since 2000.
    Despite the strong funding from Congress, the agency is under fire for allegations that patients have faced excessive waits at some VA hospitals, and that employees have kept secret lists to try to cover up the delays.

    May 30, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. Sniffit

    "The GAO reported on this back in 2012."

    No it didn't. It reported information that should have led Shinseki to investigate further or audit the Phoenix facility more thoroughly, which he didn't and is why he's resigning. It did NOT report that there was specifically a massive "book cooking" scam going on in the higher-ups of the Phoenix facility and that people were keeping things secret or fudging and destroying records.

    May 30, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  18. Tom l

    Real TP,
    So you really believe that dems care about veterans and repubs don't care?

    May 30, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. CryBabies

    It's quite amusing to see the lib bloggers justify and try to defend this administration when things go south on President Obamas watch. And because its so predictable its even more amusing. Who knew?..... We all knew....even the libs.

    May 30, 2014 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
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