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Congresswoman Suzan DelBene

Representing the 1st District of Washington

Kilmer and DelBene Call for Secretary Shinseki to Step Down

May 29, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives Derek Kilmer (WA-06) and Suzan DelBene (WA-01) called for Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign after the VA Office of Inspector General released a report detailing the manipulation of wait lists for veterans seeking medical care.  

“The Inspector General’s report makes clear that the VA system is failing our veterans. We have a basic responsibility to provide quality health care to those who served. It’s inexcusable that this pact was broken and that some within the VA health system appear to be more concerned with looking good than doing good. Not only are systemic reforms needed to improve the delivery of care to our veterans, anyone who manipulated wait times and let our veterans languish when they needed help must be held accountable,” said Kilmer. “After consulting with my veterans’ advisory council, I have come to believe it’s time for Secretary Shinseki to step down. While Secretary Shinseki is a dedicated veteran who has served our country honorably, these systemic troubles at the VA call for a change in leadership from the top on down. There needs to be accountability here. Beyond that, it is clear that there must be significant, systemic change within the VA.  Having care that comes too little, too late is not good enough for those who have put their lives on the line for our nation. We need to regain the confidence of – and do right by – our veterans and their families.”

“The revelations of misconduct at VA medical facilities are outrageous and unconscionable.  Any actions taken by senior VA officials to distort delays in medical care for our nation’s veterans are completely inconsistent with our values as Americans and the high standards of care that our veterans deserve,” said DelBene. “These problems have been documented since as early as 2005 and the failure to address them is deeply troubling. Immediate action must be taken to fulfill the promise of quality, timely care to our veterans. Unfortunately, I do not believe the fixes that our veterans need and deserve can be implemented successfully by the current leadership at the VA.  Bringing new leadership to the helm of the VA is the only way to address the structural, systemic problems plaguing the department, and is necessary to rebuild confidence in the VA healthcare system.”