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Obama: VA Misconduct 'Outrageous, Inexcusable'

  • VOA News

President Barack Obama shakes hands with National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger at the American Legion's 96th National Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina, Aug. 26, 2014.

President Barack Obama shakes hands with National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger at the American Legion's 96th National Convention, Charlotte, North Carolina, Aug. 26, 2014.

President Barack Obama is vowing to "do right by" the nation's military veterans, calling misconduct uncovered within the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department "outrageous and inexcusable."

President Obama spoke Tuesday to the American Legion veterans' organization.

Former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned in May after reports surfaced of veterans having to wait as long as 90 days to see a doctor. Some vets reportedly died waiting. A number of VA officials were accused of altering paperwork to cover up the long waits and other problems.

Congress passed a bill to overhaul the Veterans Administration last month. President Obama says it institutes "a new culture of accountability."

"And with the new legislation that I signed into law, [VA Secretary Bob McDonald] and the VA now have the authority to more quickly remove senior executives who don't meet our high standards," he said. "If you engage in unethical practices or cover up a serious problem, you should be and will be fired."

He said those who reveal misconduct by their superiors should be protected, not punished.

The administration is also launching new steps to strengthen service members' access to mental health care, improve their transition from active duty to veteran health care and help them financially.

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