WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Barack Obama has accepted the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. The president and secretary met Friday morning to discuss the ongoing controversy in delays in health care and problems throughout the VA system.
More than 100 members of Congress were calling on Shinseki to resign amid the scandal. However, only after the secretary spoke with the president did he tender his resignation.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, who was in Israel Friday on a fact-finding mission, said he was keeping a close eye on the situation. He was waiting to hear Shinseki’s report on the VA failures before passing judgment on his future with the administration.
“The most important thing is how do we get our veterans the services they need without putting them on a waiting list or forgetting about them,” stressed Manchin.
The senator said now is not the time to focus on politics.
“I would be more concerned right now, if I have anybody in West Virginia not getting the services and they’re waiting and can’t be seen, how can I get them the services that they need,” said the Senator. “That’s my main concern.”
Before Shinseki handed in his resignation he made a public apology.
“I also offer that apology to members of Congress who have supported me, to veterans service organizations who have been my partners for five years, and the American people. All of them, all of them deserve better from the VA,” said Shinseki.
In naming Shinseki’s replacement, Obama was adamant it not be a distraction to fixing the VA.
“At this stage, what I want is somebody at the VA who’s not spending time outside of solving problems for the veterans,” Obama said.
Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson was tapped by the president to temporarily take Shinseki’s job. Sloan is new to the department. The West Point grad has been out of government for years and working in the private sector until recently.