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HAYWORTH: Iowa Democrats split on removing VA's Shinseki
VA hospital problems

HAYWORTH: Iowa Democrats split on removing VA's Shinseki


Some lawmakers are calling for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Department Director Eric Shinseki, following reports of mismanagement, including that hospitals changed waiting list documents to hide long delays patients faced.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama met with Shinseki, and then told reporters, "I want to see what the results of these reports are, and there is going to be accountability."

In a Thursday press conference in Sioux City, Democratic Iowa 4th congressional district Jim Mower said that's not proper response. He called on Shinseki to resign.

"I am appalled by the actions of the president and the V.A.," Mowrer said.

Mowrer is a veteran who served in Iraq for 16 months with an Infantry Battalion out of Waterloo, Iowa. He said Obama only reacted after weeks of media outcries about veterans hospitals, so he sees "a rudderless ship approaching disaster."

Mowrer is not worried about any fallout from his criticism of Obama, who is a fellow Democrat.

"I don't care who the president is, it needs to be fixed," he said.

Another prominent Democrat in Iowa, U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, said more facts are needed before he makes a decision on the necessity of removing Shinseki.

Earlier Thursday in a conference call with Iowa reporters, Harkin said he's concerned about reports of falsified documents, but said more checking is warranted.

"Let's get the facts before we jump off a cliff here," Harkin said.

He said the VA hospital system doesn't have enough medical resources, particularly with an influx of veterans coming back with conditions from conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The senator said he hadn't been to the Phoenix VA hospital where 40 veterans died while waiting for care, but last year he went to a facility in the same state in Tucson. It's hard to know how a facility works via a personal stop like that, he said.

"It looked OK, and my brother-in-law got good treatment," Harkin said.

In the Siouxland tri-state area, U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith of Nebraska is a Republican who has called for Shinseki's resignation.


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