News / USA

    Obama Accepts VA Chief's Resignation

    US Veteran Affairs Secretary Steps Down Amid Growing Scandali
    X
    Jeff Seldin
    May 31, 2014 12:51 AM
    U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki stepped down Friday morning. Calls for his ouster had been growing, following revelations that about 1,700 veterans were denied medical care and kept off official waiting lists. Still, VOA's Jeff Seldin reports from the Pentagon that the furor has not eroded respect for the former four-star general.
    Watch related video report by VOA's Jeff Seldin
    Luis Ramirez
    Former Army Gen. Eric Shinseki, head of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, has resigned, saying he did "not want to be a distraction" after a government investigation confirmed widespread shortcomings in the health care the nation provides its military veterans.
     
    President Barack Obama pauses while making a statement in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, May 30, 2014, following his meeting with Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki.President Barack Obama pauses while making a statement in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, May 30, 2014, following his meeting with Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki.
    x
    President Barack Obama pauses while making a statement in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, May 30, 2014, following his meeting with Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki.
    President Barack Obama pauses while making a statement in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, May 30, 2014, following his meeting with Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki.
    President Barack Obama announced the resignation in a White House address Friday morning, saying he accepted it "with considerable regret."

    He has appointed Sloan Gibson, Shinseki's deputy, to be the interim leader for the VA, which provides care to roughly 6.5 million veterans a year. Gibson came onboard at the VA in February after leading the United Services Organization. Better known as the USO, the private nonprofit organization supports troops and their families with programs, services and entertainment.

    Shinseki had been under pressure to resign following revelations of lengthy waits for appointments and of a coverup in scheduling delays. According to an internal audit, wait times averaged 115 days at one hospital.

    Critics say the practice endangered the lives of thousands of veterans, including those returning from recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Shinseki apologized for the scheduling abuses Friday, saying "we now know that VA has a systemic, totally unacceptable lack of integrity within some of our veterans' health facilities." Taking responsibility for the situation, he said he originally had thought the problems were isolated.
     

    Obama did not say whether the Justice Department will pursue criminal charges.

    Shinseki already had announced several changes, including the removal of leaders at the VA center in Phoenix, Arizona, where the scandal first came to light. He also suspended bonuses for some senior officials.

    More changes are likely, Obama said, saying the VA's information system probably would need to be upgraded. The president also said he would expect "changes in the culture within the VA." 

    Until last week, Obama had said he had confidence in the ability of Shinseki - a decorated war hero and retired four-star general who himself had been wounded in battle - to lead the agency. The president waited until getting audit reports and hearing from Shinseki personally before deciding whether he should go.

    In his announcement, Obama praised Shinseki's service, saying he had championed veterans' care, especially in areas including traumatic brain injury, Agent Orange and women's specialized treatment. Shinseki also cut veteran homelessness by 24 percent, Obama said.

    A spokesman for the advocacy group Disabled American Veterans also lauded Shinseki, himself a wounded vet, as "an honorable man."

    Sgt. Joe Violante, the group's legislative director, said the organization did not call for his resignation because "we had confidence in his ability to turn things around." The group will support Shinseki's successor, he added.

    Violante made his comments Friday morning in an interview with CNN, whose investigations helped bring the VA's problems to light.

    Members of Obama's own Democratic Party had joined calls by his Republican adversaries to fire Shinseki. But Republican House speaker John Boehner said politics was not a factor.

    “I think there's broad bipartisan concern about what's happening at the VA and the treatment that's being denied to our veterans," Boehner said Friday. "These people put their lives on the line for our country and they deserve better, much better, than they're getting today.”

    You May Like

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora