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.