Photo: Chuck Hagel (Flickr)
Indiana Senators Joe Donnelly and Dan Coats aren’t yet joining the ranks of those calling on Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign.
Controversy has swirled around the Veterans Affairs head for weeks amid allegations that VA hospitals around the country manipulated wait lists, leading to treatment delays and even patient deaths.
A report released Wednesday by the VA Inspector General described inappropriate scheduling practices as systemic throughout the VA, prompting more calls for Shinseki to resign.
It’s also led the American Legion, one of the only major veterans groups calling for Shinseki’s dismissal, to call for a criminal investigation into hospitals found to have manipulated wait times.
Senator Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, says he’s waiting for the full results of the VA investigation before making any decisions on Shinseki.
“But if things have gone wrong, and if there’s responsibilities that have been missed that he is responsible for, then obviously he needs to take responsibility for that,” he says.
Senator Dan Coats, R-Indiana, says forcing Shinseki to resign engages in the wrong discussion. He says the problems at the VA clearly go deeper than top leadership.
“I just don’t want people walking away, saying ‘Ok, we fired the top guy or we threw some more money at the problem and everything’s fine – what’s the next issue?’” Shinseki says.
Coats says Congress should examine whether the VA is ill-equipped to provide adequate care to the country’s veterans and whether private healthcare options should be explored.