Rep. Defazio: 'It's time to clean house at the VA'

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by Jeff Thompson, KGW.com Staff

kgw.com

Posted on May 30, 2014 at 10:39 AM

Updated Friday, May 30 at 3:51 PM

WASHINGTON -- Minutes after Veterans Affairs head Eric Shinseki's resignation was announced, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said it was a good start to the major housecleaning needed at the VA.

"We need to show our veterans we are serious about fulfilling our promise to the men and women who put their lives on the line for our country," he said on the House floor Friday.

He said he was disappointed, but not surprised to learn how widespread the reports were of mismanagement, false records and systemic failures within the administration.

DeFazio pointed to issues in his own district that are symptoms of the nationwide VA problems.

Related: Roseburg vet with cancer says VA neglected him

"There were attempts to downgrade the Roseburg hospital; we're still fighting for adequate staffing," he said. "It took six years after I got funding for a critical new VA clinic in Eugene for them to break ground."

DeFazio had called for Shinseki's resignation earlier in the day and praised the move immediately after President Obama announced it just after 11 a.m. EDT.

"It's right that General Shinseki has resigned, but that's just the beginning of the housecleaning and the reform we need in the Veterans Administration to see that they become an organization who is totally oriented toward serving our veterans," DeFazio said.

Background: Obama accepts VA chief's resignation

Pres. Obama named current VA Deputy Secretary Sloan D. Gibson to be the interim department head while he searches for another secretary.

Shinseki had overseen the VA since the start of Obama's presidency.

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