President Barack Obama on Friday accepted the resignation of embattled Veterans Affairs Department leader Eric Shinseki. Federal lawmakers and the Obama administration have been seeking changes in how the department functions, after widespread reports of mismanagement, including hospitals changing waiting list documents to hide long delays patients faced.
The Shinseki resignation was well-received among Siouxland federal lawmakers, who sent out a slew of press releases. U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said Shinseki had "lost the confidence of our veterans."
King also veered to work in a knock on the federal health care reform package he's worked to repeal since 2010.
"We also have a preview of what a microcosm of ObamaCare looks like. If government can’t fix the VA for our veterans, how can government manage healthcare for all Americans?” King said.
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The two senators from Iowa said changes can't stop with the resignation of Shinseki.
U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said, "When problems in a department are widespread, the top leadership bears ultimate responsibility for the management shortcomings that let it happen. But this can’t be the end of the story. The problems will still be there after this resignation, and they need to be fixed. Everyone in the department who was responsible should go."
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said action must be pursued in federal chambers.
"The task before us is to ensure that veterans receive the benefits they have earned, educational opportunities that lead to good jobs, and health care that is both timely and high quality. Congress must now get back to the task at hand and ensure the VA has the resources to implement these solutions," Harkin said.
There's a telling line in a Washington Post article about how the intransigent culture of the Veterans Affairs developed. A VA doctor is quoted as saying what Shinseki didn't realize was that "if you say, ‘Do something,’ it’s covered up. It’s fixed by covering it up.”