[VIDEO] Responding to Pressure from Punditfromanotherplanet, White House Holds Press Conference, Responds to V.A. ScandalPosted: May 21, 2014
THERE’S Bambi! Obama Press Conference: Any Misconduct at VA ‘Will Be Punished’
WASHINGTON (AP) — Matthew Daly and Julie Pace report: Seeking to head off a growing furor over veterans’ health care, President Barack Obama declared Wednesday that allegations of misconduct at VA hospitals are “dishonorable” and will be not be tolerated by his administration.
“I will not stand for it — not as commander in chief but also not as an American,” Obama said following an Oval Office meeting with embattled VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.
“We are going to fix whatever is wrong and so long as I have the privilege of serving as commander in chief…”
His administration is under mounting pressure from Capitol Hill to address troubling allegations of treatment delays and preventable deaths at VA hospitals. The VA Inspector General’s office said late Tuesday that 26 facilities are being investigated nationwide — up from 10 just last week — including a Phoenix hospital where 40 veterans allegedly died while waiting for treatment and staff there kept a secret list of patients waiting for appointments to hide delays in care.
“…I’m going to keep on fighting to deliver the care and the benefits and the opportunities that you and your families deserve, now and for decades to come.”
Shinseki, a retired Army four-star general, is facing calls for his resignation from some lawmakers. Obama spoke warmly of Shinseki Wednesday, saying the secretary had poured his heart and soul into his job, but said there would be accountability if the allegations of misconduct are proven to be true.
“We are going to fix whatever is wrong and so long as I have the privilege of serving as commander in chief, I’m going to keep on fighting to deliver the care and the benefits and the opportunities that you and your families deserve, now and for decades to come,” Obama said.
The president spoke hours before the House was scheduled to vote on a bill that would grant the VA secretary more authority to fire or demote senior executives. The White House has said it shares the goals of the House measure — to ensure accountability at the VA — but has concerns about some of the details.
Obama’s statement marked his first public comments on the matter in more than two weeks. Last week, he dispatched his deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors to the VA to oversee a review of department policies.
Nabors, who also took part in the Oval Office meeting Wednesday, was heading to Phoenix later in the day to meet with staff at the VA hospital at the center of the allegations. His meeting will include interim director Steve Young and other hospital administrators. Nabors plans to submit a preliminary report to the White House next week, with a full report due in June…(read more)
- Charges that VA mismanaged veterans’ care ignite political furor (kansascity.com)
- Can Rob Nabors fix the VA? Here’s what he needs. (washingtonpost.com)
- IG: VA investigations expanded to 26 facilities (cnsnews.com)
- Obama Aide Tasked With VA Review Going to Phoenix (abcnews.go.com)
- VA watchdog says fatal delays ‘could be avoided’- Obama assigning deputy chief of staff Nabors to oversee VA review (foxnews.com)
- Cantor ‘Disturbed’ by Obama’s Response to VA Scandal (abcnews.go.com)
- Obama to discuss VA issues with Secretary Shinseki (ktvb.com)