May 30th, 2014
11:32 AM ET
5 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. Sniffit

    Well, everyone who's really to blame got their scapegoat. What a victory for 'Murika.

    /golfclap

    Here's a list of fun questions the MSM won't ask any of the people who called for his resignation:

    Did you vote for the two unfunded wars?
    Didn't you think they might result in increased medical treatment and service needs for the veterans they would create?
    Didn't GENERAL Shinseki testify before Congress in 2003 and warn that Iraq would require 300,000 troops and much more time than the "three weeks" Rumsfeld and Cheney were blathering about?
    Didn't Dubya and the GOP/Teatrolls then railroad him into retirement from the military after that?
    Did you propose or vote for any legislation to fund and make improvements to the VA system so it could handle that increased need as a result of Iraq and Afghanistan?
    Weren't you aware of these long-standing systemic problems in the VA your entire time in Congress?
    Weren't you in Congress during the Walter Reed debacle?
    Did you propose or vote for any increased funding or improvements at THAT time? At ANY time?

    Why shouldn't you resign too?

    May 30, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Obama had no options. He had to make this go away as fast as possible.........but in fact it is likely to remain an ongoing problem for him.

    Shinseki's resignation is just a brief relief from the pressure. The problems still have to get resolved, and if there's one thing we have learned about Obama, it is that the only solution he has for any problem, is to throw money at the problem, which never solves the problem.

    That means this is NOT going away, anytime soon. Not at all.

    May 30, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. S.B. Stein

    I have mixed feelings about this because the VA has had ongoing issues. There are some veterans that have received excellent care while others are not getting any help that they need. This has been the way for years. When a problem this big comes to light, heads will roll usually from the top down. Shinseki seemed to be wanting to do more but wasn't following it closely enough to see what he was able to do.

    Those that received bonuses over the past few years should return them if the IG notes that they should have known better or could have done a better job.

    May 30, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  4. Boomer in Mo

    Replace him with someone who has run a major hospital organization. Running the military and running a healthcare delivery system are vastly different. And fire those lazy Docs in St. Louis who refused to work more than three hours a day...

    May 30, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. O'drama ya Mama

    I think Obama should nominate John McCain to head the VA

    May 30, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Speaking earlier Friday to a veterans group, Shinseki said he underestimated the depth of problems in the VA system and announced several steps, fixes, including removal of senior leaders at the Phoenix VA hospital and elimination of performance awards for VA leaders in 2014."

    Guess kicking the can down the road didn't work any better for the VA than it has for the rest of America. One hopes that eventually our congress folks actually do the jobs they get paid to do versus sitting on their butts wringing their hands.

    Well, that; and mugging for the media.

    May 30, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. smith1

    Too bad . Isn't old man Mc Cain the senator from Arizona ??? How come he didn't know anything? Maybe he needs to pay more attention to his own state. The one he represents than flying all over and hollering about Benghazi and who should resign. The president said this was partly political and it is. I hope the trolls are happy and can move on to another scandal that they will not fund. Most of these would not have happened if congress had allocated the money to make improvment's.

    May 30, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Rick McDaniel

    Obama had no options. He had to make this go away as fast as possible.........but in fact it is likely to remain an ongoing problem for him.
    --------------------–
    I cannot disagree with you on that score. The right wing will try their best to brand a letter "S" on Obama's forehead. Your post is proof it.

    May 30, 2014 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. Peace

    Well, well, well. Those who wanted Gen. Shinseki's head now you have got it. Now! we want you: Fox News, those Senators, Congress people who insisted him to go, to come up with only one name of Mr./Mrs. do Wonders, who will do the work efficiently. You can't rush to kick a person out without having a replacement in mind. Show/tell us now who is that person?

    May 30, 2014 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Everyone knew about the long wait times for years and years and years. The problem can especially acute in the rural areas of the larger states where access to V.A. facilities means a much longer trip. Barack Obama campaigned on improving the V.A.'s service back in 2007/2008.

    But, the right wants to pretend that then Sen. Obama knew about the number fudging when he made those campaign promises, and has since done nothing about it. Strange, I don't recall hearing anything about people falsifying wait times until just recently, and neither has the right. But, what difference do facts make to the right?

    May 30, 2014 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    Here's a list of fun questions the MSM won't ask any of the people who called for his resignation:

    Did you vote for the two unfunded wars?
    Didn't you think they might result in increased medical treatment and service needs for the veterans they would create?
    Didn't GENERAL Shinseki testify before Congress in 2003 and warn that Iraq would require 300,000 troops and much more time than the "three weeks" Rumsfeld and Cheney were blathering about?
    Didn't Dubya and the GOP/Teatrolls then railroad him into retirement from the military after that?
    Did you propose or vote for any legislation to fund and make improvements to the VA system so it could handle that increased need as a result of Iraq and Afghanistan?
    Weren't you aware of these long-standing systemic problems in the VA your entire time in Congress?
    Weren't you in Congress during the Walter Reed debacle?
    Did you propose or vote for any increased funding or improvements at THAT time? At ANY time?

    Why shouldn't you resign too?
    -----------------------------
    Couldn't have said it better myself Sniffit. It's officially head rolling season, and I don't see why these hypocrites in Congress shouldn't be getting a bunch of grief as well.

    May 30, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. Gurgyl

    Wrong resignation by wrong rant by GOP as usual. Nothing wrong with VA, just another rant by GOP nonetheless this VA stuff there for generations.

    May 30, 2014 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. CB FL

    O'drama ya Mama
    I think they should be asking McCain about all the letters he received from Veterans in AZ telling him about the problems. That he never replied to. But he runs in front of the cameras talking about his outrage.

    May 30, 2014 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  14. The REAL Truth...

    Since there is now a vacancy I recommend the President nominate John Boehner to replace Shinseki.
    Would that stir it up... watch the GOP scatter like pigeons.. LOL !!

    May 30, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. Silence DoGood

    @Rudy NYC
    Rick McDaniel

    Obama had no options. He had to make this go away as fast as possible.........but in fact it is likely to remain an ongoing problem for him.
    ------––
    I cannot disagree with you on that score. The right wing will try their best to brand a letter "S" on Obama's forehead. Your post is proof it.
    -------
    That is not a "S". It is a "$". This issue will not go away until the GOP has raised all the money it can from it.

    May 30, 2014 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. Salverda

    The President kept saying (at least twice) that those vets who did receive service were able to get good healthcare treatment. It is not clear what statistics he was here referring to, but if you think about it, you have to take that statement with a very large grain of salt. These cooked, secret, waiting lists were doctored to make the healthcare of veterans "look good" in the first place. Those vets who did receive service were, no doubt, only the easy cases, while the more difficult patients were the ones who were put on those, intolerably long, waiting lists; and died without a whimper. Thus the notion that those who did receive care, got good care, is unreliably, skewed toward favorable outcomes; in that it only includes the care received by the simplest of scenarios. If the data had included all degrees of medical cases it might not have "looked" so successful.

    May 30, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  17. Moderate Sean

    Where are the claims of responsibility of those in Congress for not doing their appropriate oversight?? Congress is so quick to throw stones at the President and General Shinseki, but there are crickets when it comes to their role/responsibilities – again, nothing new here! Can I propose that many of the Senators and Congressmen/women that called for the General's resignation also resign your post for not doing your respective jobs, particularly those Congressional Committees designated to oversee this department!!

    May 30, 2014 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  18. Silence DoGood

    @Rudy NYC
    Everyone knew about the long wait times for years and years and years. The problem can especially acute in the rural areas of the larger states where access to V.A. facilities means a much longer trip. Barack Obama campaigned on improving the V.A.'s service back in 2007/2008.

    But, the right wants to pretend that then Sen. Obama knew about the number fudging when he made those campaign promises, and has since done nothing about it. Strange, I don't recall hearing anything about people falsifying wait times until just recently, and neither has the right. But, what difference do facts make to the right?
    --------
    I will give you loony step #2 on the conspiracy train sice facts are not a consideration:
    "Obama secretly caused the false wait times to hurt our way of life and cause the country to collapse to allow him to establish his great socialist empire and welcome in the space alien invasion since he is actually a space alien in disguise. Without a birth certificate."

    May 30, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  19. rs

    O'drama ya Mama

    I think Obama should nominate John McCain to head the VA
    _____________
    I LOVE that idea.

    May 30, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. Tommy G

    Sniffit
    Well, everyone who's really to blame got their scapegoat. What a victory for 'Murika.
    -–

    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? So it is obvious in your delusional world that when a sports team fires a losing coach, they are also making him a scapegoat. And where a company fires a CEO for a company not meeting expectations, they are also a scapegoat. And when people make personal decisions that screw up their life, they are also not responsible, it is just 'the system being rigged against them'. You are laughable.

    May 30, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. Donna

    Rudy NYC
    Everyone knew about the long wait times for years and years and years. The problem can especially acute in the rural areas of the larger states where access to V.A. facilities means a much longer trip. Barack Obama campaigned on improving the V.A.'s service back in 2007/2008.
    But, the right wants to pretend that then Sen. Obama knew about the number fudging when he made those campaign promises, and has since done nothing about it. Strange, I don't recall hearing anything about people falsifying wait times until just recently, and neither has the right. But, what difference do facts make to the right?
    ---

    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?

    5.5 YEARS after claiming he was going to fix the VA, Obama has done NOTHING to actually fix it. He thinks simply throwing money at a problem is a fix. Just like he threw money at the economy and thought it was fixed. Just like he throws money at these bogus green energy boondoggles and global warming/climate change nonsense. It is all the incompetent left knows how to do. Actually fixing, doing and making things is far beyond their capabilities.

    May 30, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  22. 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.

    May 30, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    Oh brother. If you can't differentiate between knowing about long-standing generalized systemic problems versus a very specific, isolated situation, then your tinfoil hat is on too tight, Donna.

    May 30, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  24. 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.

    May 30, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  25. Greg In Arkansas

    I bet the GOP is all ready block the next nomination to head up the VA.....at least until after the mid-terms

    May 30, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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