Quantcast

Obama assigns deputy chief of staff to review embattled Veterans Affairs department

By Reuters
Wednesday, May 14, 2014 23:13 EDT
google plus icon
U.S. President Barack Obama. Photo via AFP.
 
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Email this page

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama is dispatching his deputy chief of staff, Rob Nabors, to help oversee a review of the Department of Veterans Affairs as anger grows over evidence that veterans died while waiting for care.

Obama, through his spokesman, has voiced his confidence in Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki repeatedly, but the retired four star general has faced calls for his resignation following reports that up to 40 veterans died while waiting for appointments or specialist care at a VA hospital in Phoenix.

“While we get to the bottom of what happened in Phoenix, it’s clear the VA needs to do more to ensure quality care for our veterans,” Obama said Wednesday in a statement. “I’m grateful that Rob, one of my most trusted advisers, has agreed to work with Secretary Shinseki to help the team at this important moment.”

The move demonstrated White House concern that the issue is taking on growing political weight. Shinseki is scheduled to testify about the problems before a Senate committee on Thursday.

Nabors, a former director of White House legislative affairs and former deputy budget director, will be re-assigned to Veterans Affairs on a temporary basis. Shinseki, who is spearheading the review, said in a statement released by the White House that he appreciated Nabors’s help.

“I welcome Rob’s perspective in helping us to ensure veterans have access to timely quality health care,” he said. “If allegations about manipulation of appointment scheduling are true, they are completely unacceptable – to veterans, to me, and to our dedicated VA employees.”

As more reports surface of alleged schemes to mask long wait times at VA hospitals and clinics, Shinseki’s testimony will be critical to saving his job. White House support for the former general could dip if he fails to show credibly in his testimony to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that he was not aware of any cover-ups of appointment wait times.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Ken Wills)

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

Reuters
Reuters
Reuters.com brings you the latest news from around the world, covering breaking news in business, politics, technology, and more.
 
 
 
 
By commenting, you agree to our terms of service
and to abide by our commenting policy.
 
Google+