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Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki Resigns

President Obama today announced that Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has resigned, saying Shinseki himself had come to the conclusion that he could no longer function effectively.

Speaking at the White House, Obama said that the resignation was based on “Rick’s judgement” and Shinseki’s belief that he would be a distraction:

He has worked hard to investigate and identify the problems with access to care, but as he told me this morning, the VA needs new leadership to address them.

He does not want to be a distraction, because his priority is to fix the problem and make sure our vets are getting the care that they need. That was Ric’s judgment on behalf of his fellow veterans. And I agree. We don’t have time for distractions; we need to fix the problem.

Obama seemed to minimize Shinseki’s culpability, saying Shinseki was “offended” information about the problems at the VA didn’t get up the chain of command to the secretary.

I think he is deeply disappointed in the fact that bad news did not get to him and that the structures weren’t in place for him to identify this problem quickly and fix it. 

But Obama was also careful to gently lay some of the blame on Shinseki:

This morning I think some of you also heard Ric take a truly remarkable action. In public remarks, he took responsibility for the conduct of those facilities and apologized to his fellow veterans and to the American people. And a few minutes ago, Secretary Shinseki offered me his own recognition. With considerable regret, I accept it.

Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson will take over as acting secretary, said Obama, who indicated someone else would be brought in as a permanent replacement.

Obama acknowledged that as president he bears responsibility, and then he immediately seemed to pass the buck, noting the VA’s problems predated him, saying he’d done much to help the agency, and blaming others for not bringing the issue to his or Shinseki’s attention.

This predates my presidency. When I was in the Senate, I was on the Veterans Affairs Committee. I heard first-hand veterans who were not getting the kinds of services and benefits that they had earned . . . 

And so, what I can say confidently is that this has been a priority. It’s been a priority reflected in my budget, and that in terms of managing the VA, where we have seen a problem — where we have been aware of a problem, we have gone after it and fixed it and have been able to make significant progress.

But what is absolutely clear is, this one — this issue of scheduling is one that the reporting systems inside of the VHA did not surface to the level where Rick (sp) was aware of it we were able to see it. This was not something that we were hearing when I was traveling around the country, the particular issue of scheduling.

Obama said changes will be needed at the VA, including a change of culture. But his focus seemed to be on throwing more money at the place, not a wholesale reform in the way veterans get their healthcare, as is being suggested by some Republicans.

“We may need to get more doctors and we may need to get more nurses,” Obama said.

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70 Responses to Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki Resigns

    • -Now that this Obama regime has to find a new VA Sec. all this talk-concerns about the VA will be pushed aside…

      -Because the Obama regime will have to find a NEW VA Sec., and guess what?
      Obama will no longer be allowed to talk about the VA, because ‘he’ is ‘trying to find a new Sec.’ to ‘fix the situation’…

  1. The structures weren’t in place–the news never got to him. I am calling total bs on this! In six years of dept head meetings with “no news,” he didn’t say, “Is there anything we should be doing differently?” And does this mess now disappear off the news cycle? I hope not but fear so.

    • Star, BO does not hold cabinet mtgs, or if he does, their far few and in between. Even one on one’s are rare unless it’s a pet project. So I say BS also. He gets the info somehow. And of course the comments that it happened before his watch. BS on that also. CNN showed a timeline that puts his administration right in the middle of it. And still he will excuse himself for blame.

      Perfect Sgt Schultz Syndrome – “I know nothingggg … nothingggggg”

  2. Who scheduled Shinseki’s speech before his meeting with Obama ?

    What a Clown School ! At least with clowns the right hand usually knows what the left hand’s doing ;)

  3. You know how it is said that “stuff” rolls downhill? the “stuff” now needs to cannonball into those below Shinseki.
    The only fixin’ that needs to be done for the VA is to shut it down and send the Vets out on the economy for treatment and let the providers be reimbursed by the DoD.

  4. If all the 90 million people BELOW KING HUSSEIN aren’t doing their ‘JOBS’ – why are the taxpayers getting the bill? Poor little Shinsky. Poor little Lois “Learned” Nothing and all the rest who get caught and resign. They all go on their happy way with their premier medical care and pensions. Where’s MY PENSION?

  5. O/T: I read the Politico article about Palin stating illegals get better med care than vets. True, I worked with govt insurance. Then the comments…they all call each other names, so mature /sarc.
    I like it here.

  6. Heard he’s going to Europe for D-Day 70 year anniversary. He wouldn’t
    look to good with this debacle hanging over his head while looking the
    brave veterans in the eye. Guessing this is a vacation for Michelle.

      • AF – of course she will go!!.. stop over in Paris for dinner and shopping!!.. She will just scowl and be grumpy until the ceremony is over. Then it’s Katie bar the door.. I’m going Shoppingggggg”

  7. So, with Shinseki gone, LSM will shift their attention to other matters and the VA (like the Mighty Mississip) will “just keep rollin’ along.

  8. “This predates my presidency. When I was in the Senate, I was on the Veterans Affairs Committee. I heard first-hand veterans who were not getting the kinds of services and benefits that they had earned . . . ”

    To be fore-armed is to be forewarned, Mr. Obama. How many mtgs over the course of the last 6 years did you have with Sec Shinseki to make sure that these problems were fixed, and would never happen again?
    Do you still wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night worrying about our Vets? (We know now that your wife wakes up and goes to sleep every day and night worrying about the health of our children).

    Do tell, Mr. president. How do the two of you manage to function with such heavy burdens plaguing your hearts and minds?

  9. “This predates my presidency,” although I’ve known since running for the WH the first time that the VA had problems and I promised then to make it a top priority. Well, now that the fecal matter has hit the fan, it is truly a top priority, as I’ve said from the beginning….

    This guy is an embarrassment

  10. Of note:

    The official line on this is that Sinseki is leaving voluntarily. He was NOT fired. That may be a distinction without a difference, but it is noteworthy.

  11. Obama seemed to minimize Shinseki’s culpability, saying Shinseki was “offended” information about the problems at the VA didn’t get up the chain of command to the secretary.

    Shinseki must not have been watching the same news channels that had first alerted Obama to the problems.

    • There have been many news stories in the [past few months describing VA waiting lists of 700-000, 800,000…..vets.waiting for care, waiting for appointments, etc. Maybe Obama and Shinseki don’t read newspapers anymore? Every other news consumer was aware of the waiting lists.

  12. “This predates my presidency, so it’s not really my fault. And to those who may question why I did nothing to address the problems over the past 5 1/2 years, you should be aware of all the time I’ve spent playing golf, hosting rappers and sports teams at the White House, and traveling all over the country to fundraisers. Even a president only has so much time available to work for the American people’.

  13. The guy that took his place, Sloan Gibson, was the one that set up the bonuses for the individuals that were responsible for creating the ‘lists’ that restricted the veterans from getting timely health care.
    Fox News just reported that the bonuses have been cancelled.

  14. …and so Obama dodges the bullet one more time!!!! Notice he takes no responsibility for his appointment of Shinseki, nor of his neglect in being all talk and no “show” about the issue of the veterans debacle. He ignored the problems altho’ Shinseki .. worked at the “pleasure” of the POTUS!!! But Obama has his blame guy now,,,so all is going to be Hunky Dory, and Obama can go back to his usual routine..Which is????

  15. There are more IG reports over the years on the problems than Carters has pills. He served honorably but that does not mean he was the best for this job. He should have been in every VA clinic/hospital the instant a rumor or complaint about waiting lists started.
    THEN, he should have been out front showing how the insane civil service/public union regulations prevent accountability. But we all know he couldn’t/wouldn’t do that because it’s more important for Dems to protect the union money than provide good government.

    • Here’s another piece of the VA story that’s bugging me: every member of Congress, I would think, has dozens if not hundreds of letters in their files from veterans begging for help to deal with the VA. Where the blazes have they been all this time?

  16. I forget who was being interviewed last night, but they said, “The VA has 700 lawyers. They need to fire 699 of them and hire more doctors.” I hope we see criminal charges come out of all this.

  17. You notice POTUS thought it was excellent that Shinseki apologized, but did not go there himself. It’s Ric, it’s Bush, it’s everyone’s fault but his own.

  18. If the top guy at the VA did not know, but should have known, what was happening how is it reasonable to believe his deputy was not similarly blind to what was going on? Isn’t it even more likely that the deputy did know and intentionally did not pass the info on? How is keeping the deputy going to help?

  19. Thank you General for your long service to our country. I do not blame you for this but you share the blame because of your position.
    This falls on the CiC and congress.

    Enjoy your retirement or new job with a defense contractor.

    • Bingo…
      All these retired Generals & Admirals are nothing but WHORES to become very well paid (Millions $) ‘defense contractors’ inside the DC Beltway

  20. …”reflected in my budget” as a Senator. Didn’t he as a President threaten the military with “late” paychecks during the fray that closed the White House tours and national park ?

  21. I think the president is squirming uncomfortably in the hot seat, as he should, but he should also offer his own resignation (I know, I’m dreaming…)

  22. Random thoughts: Shinseki didn’t know, that’s why BO couldn’t know. VA = “priority reflected in my budget.” What budget? Need to hire more docs/nurses. Yes, spending more $ will automatically fix the problem as it does with everything else. We didn’t hear anything about VA problems while we were traveling–and appearing before adoring high school and college students who were happy to get out of class for photo ops.

  23. Shinseki needed to go! Never put a general into a business that he knows nothing about! Did he even know anything about Medicine? I doubt it. The VA is a good example how ObamaCare is going to hurt Americans that get sick. The writing is on the wall. Hire someone that spent their years in the medical field, not a commander of the military. Military should not be involved in healthcare just like having politicians run wars! Let the Generals do their job on the battlefield & Doctors in hospitals!

  24. Of course Obama did not learn of the scheduling problem as he traveled around the country like he says.

    The dip traveled around the country to get away from his responsibilities.

    Hobnobbing is his way of life.

  25. 1) People are saying Obama is loathe to fire people. Not so when it came to Rolling Stone’s slimy portrayal of Gen. Stanley McChrystal; and 2) My unsolicited advice: Obama should reach out to George W. Bush to replace Shinseki at the VA. He has executive experience and is admired by our veterans. :)