The ongoing debate around the Department of Veterans Affairs and the deaths of 40 veterans waiting for care at a Phoenix VA hospital is far from over. Embattled Secretary of Veterans Affairs Gen. Eric Shinseki is set to testify before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee later this week.
But the conversation doesn’t necessary end with the Secretary’s Senate testimony. U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), chair of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Committee, has his own questions about the culture and organizational climate at the sprawling and (some allege) poorly-funded department. Miller joined us today to talk about the questions he still has for Sec. Shinseki.
“I’ve said that I’m gonna withhold my decision [on whether or not to call for the Secretary's resignation] until after the Office of Inspector General finishes their report in the next couple of weeks.”
Miller also pointed out what he called a need for a private or public choice when veterans enter the massive VA health system.
After a listener called in to blame Miller’s party for failing to support higher funding at the overworked Department of Veterans Affairs, Miller laid blame on President Barack Obama for not asking for higher funding in his annual budget requests to Congress.
“It’s the President who sets the requests based on what his Cabinet secretary asks for and that’s exactly what this Congress has donem is supported the President’s Request for the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Miller said.
What do you think? Do you see a poorly-funded, well-meaning department unfairly on the rocks? Or a mismanaged system tied to unrealistic numbers and wholly inadequate funding requests?