U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is calling for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki after the VA inspector general’s latest report on fraudulent accounting practices at Veterans Administration facilities.
The Florida Senator, an original sponsor of the VA Management Accountability Act of 2014, issued a statement on Thursday urging the Senate to respond to the systemic problems at the VA with “meaningful, common sense reform.”
“The inspector general’s report not only confirmed our worst fears about rampant mismanagement and institutional neglect at the VA, it also revealed the problem is even worse than we thought,” Rubio said. “But Secretary Shinseki should not shoulder the blame alone. Current law prohibits Secretary Shinseki – and whoever might succeed him – from firing the very people that the inspector general found responsible for the ‘daily mismanagement, inappropriate hiring decisions, sexual harassment, and bullying behavior’ that contributed to the shameful conditions throughout the VA system.”
Recent reports uncovered Department of Veterans Affairs had denied care to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, who waited for months to be seen by VA doctors, despite orders that they were to be given top priority. A many as 26 VA facilities may have been using “secret” waiting lists, bringing about the death of dozens of veterans from delayed care.
Twenty-six VA facilities are now under examination for what Rubio refers to as “disgraceful mismanagement.” Florida is home to nearly 2 million veterans.
“Fifty senators, including five Democrats, have now signaled their support for common sense legislation that the Senate could pass and send to the President as early as next week,” Rubio said. “This is the same legislation that passed the House 390-33, with 162 Democrats voting in favor.
“This legislation would bring basic accountability to the VA and ensure the people responsible for the gross negligence and mistreatment of our nation’s heroes are punished.”