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Boozman says Shinseki needs to go after VA problems

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published May 30, 2014 at 9:14 a.m.

Republican U.S. Sen. John Boozman on Friday called for a change in leadership at the Department of Veteran Affairs after problems including widespread delays in treatment for military veterans surfaced.

In a statement, Boozman, a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, didn't specify whether he thinks Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki should step down or be removed, but he said Congress, the public and "a large portion of the veterans' community ... have lost faith" in his ability to fix the problems.

He also criticized the White House for lacking "a sense of urgency" in addressing the issues.

"The failures within our VA medical system pose a problem in need of an immediate solution and the President's ability to manage this crisis to this point has been nothing short of disappointing," Boozman said in the statement.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor said Thursday that he was outraged by the treatment delays but that he was not yet calling for Shinseki to step down.

Boozman said Shinseki's departure is a necessary step, though he cautioned that it will not immediately solve the ongoing troubles.

"While a leadership change at VA is in order, a new secretary alone will not absolve the President of his responsibility to ensure our veterans receive quality care in a timely manner," he said. "If there is a sense of complacency that has set in within VA, it is the President's responsibility to reverse that course which will require much more effort on his part than merely nominating a new secretary."

Several other lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas, called for Shinseki to resign this week after a report found hundreds of veterans at a medical center in Phoenix not registered on the proper waiting list among other problems.

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map51 says... May 30, 2014 at 10:21 a.m.

Do not make this a party issue. The VA and veterans issues have been on the back burn for several Presidents. It needs fixing and now. More importantly this needs fixed the right way not just some quick fix. They are not paying veterans on the G.I. bill in a timely manner of at all either. This is on Presidents past and present as well as Congress as a whole. Go to work and do your job.

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carpenterretired says... May 30, 2014 at 1:05 p.m.

In February Boozman voted with 40 other G.O.P. senators to prevent increases benefits for veterans even after Bush and the G.O.P. added two million plus veterans to the V.A. system with their adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan will Boozman flip flop and support increased spending on V.A. health care Spending?

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