Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki resigns

Amid increasing pressure from first Republicans and then Democratic lawmakers, President Barack Obama said Friday that he had accepted the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

“I want to reiterate: he is a very good man,” Obama said, but the secretary came to believe that “he could not carry out the next stages of reform without being a distraction.”

Shinseki had been under fire from the VA scandal that left hundreds of veterans waiting for healthcare for hundreds of days. In Alaska, GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan has been pressuring Sen. Mark Begich to call for Shinseki’s resignation after a preliminary report was released this week that detailed problems with the VA.

Begich sits on the Veterans Affairs Committee.

This week, Sullivan’s campaign put out a series of releases about Begich and Shinseki, calling Begich, among other things, “derelict” for not demanding Shinseki’s resignation.

On Thursday, Begich held a press conference and called the scandal “unacceptable and outrageous,” and said that he was doing everything in his power to fix the situation. However, he said that he was going to wait until a final report was released before deciding whether or not to call for Shinseki’s resignation.

This week also Kark Rove’s super-PAC, Crossroads, had started running ads tying Begich to the scandal.

The pressure on Begich wasn’t likely the sole reason for Shinseki’s resignation, but it probably added to the decision, as did pressure the administration was feeling from other Senate Democrats, some of them up for reelection.

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6 thoughts on “Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki resigns

  1. Ron B

    I usually read this blog almost everyday. I really enjoy Amanda’s writing and insights. I’m such a junkie to this site that I find myself getting aggravatted sometimes when she slacks on weekends. This is the first time I have ever commented on this site. What has prompted me to do so were the comment posted by Robin Mitchell. First and foremost, I want to express my apreciation for your husband’s service to our country. Additionally, I want to express my aologies for the manner that Senator Begich’s office responded to you. Their response doesn’t live up to my expectation of public service. To tell you never to contact their office on this matter is absolutely offensive. I think its time for Alaska to have a senator with military experience. I’m starting to run short on Begich’s lip service to veterans. He talks and struts a good game; however, I’ve noticed that his talk, on many issues, leaves a lot to be desired. It’s time for a change.

  2. Robin Mitchell

    Begich touts helping “others” but told me NOT TO BOTHER HIM ANY LONGER in trying to get medical care at the Alaska VA for my 100% service connected disabled husband. He claims to have gone all the way to Shinseki himself.

    I had to sell quite a few items in order to afford to bring my husband to a VA Poly Trauma Rehab Clinic in Indianapolis in order to get him medical care. Which by the way the Indianapolis VA has done a wonderful job at. I also get care there with some of the finest doctors I have ever met.

    Now I have contacted Begich again asking his help in trying to get the Alaska VA to DO THEIR JOB and let’s get my husband back home to Alaska again! While Indiana has treated us both great he misses his home.

    So far VISN 20 Patient Advocate Wolfgang Agotta is MIA after asking for a detailed email on what my husband needs and Shinseki’s Patient Advocate Joe Wilson can’t keep facts straight from one day to the next but he talks a good line. Called me Friday night to tell me he and Wolfgang fixed it. They were going to assign my husband right back to Alaska VA doctors Todd Quier who cold turkey’d him off a seizure medicine and could have killed him and Dr. Boone who can only parrot “I can’t do that” as is I can’t get you’re badly disabled husband vestibular therapy, or other needed specialists.

    Begich calling for OTHER states Veterans Affairs to be investigated while trying to claim HE fixed Alaska’s VA problems is either a political hack job, he is delusional, corrupt, or completely and utterly incompetent as a US Senator. Try fixing ALASKA veterans problems Begich before trying to grandstand for the camera’s on C-SPAN during a hearing you insisted on in order to try and look like you know what you are doing.

    BTW…I know of one homebound female Army veteran living two miles from the Kenai VA clinic that has been waiting for her FIRST VA appt since last summer. I am sure there are others that could easily be found if reporters were investigative instead of posting Begich’s press releases.

    Below is part of his email back to me.

    —–Original Message—–From: Payne-Funk, Matt (Begich) (Begich) To: darkdakota ; tlamb775 Sent: Wed, Aug 3, 2011 2:21 pmSubject: RE: Follow-Up
    We have done all we will do. Please contact the Veteran’s Administration directly.

    Matt Payne-Funk
    Administrative Director
    Office of Senator Mark Begich
    (202) 224-9580

    From: [] Sent: Wednesday, August 03, 2011 2:20 PMTo: Payne-Funk, Matt (Begich); tlamb775@aol.comSubject: RE: Follow-Up

    AGAIN. I would like a copy of the lettter signed by the Secretary of the VA that was supposedly advocated on John’s behalf.

    —–Original Message—–From: Payne-Funk, Matt (Begich) To: Sent: Wed, Aug 3, 2011 8:54 amSubject: RE: Follow-Up
    Dear Mrs. Mitchell,

    Our staff have advocated for you with the Veteran’s Administration all the way to the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Your case is well established with the VA and there is nothing else our office can or will do beyond the advocacy we have already provided.

    We’ve closed our file on this case. Please do not contact our office for any more assistance on this case.

    Thank you.

    Matt Payne-Funk
    Administrative Director
    Office of Senator Mark Begich
    (202) 224-3004

    From: [] Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2011 3:52 PMTo: Payne-Funk, Matt (Begich)Subject: Follow-Up

    Mr. Payne-Funk,

    CW has been reguritating the same answer on this for two years and calling it investigation. He is now sumping this on you. Please send me the letter from Shinseki, not Spector and Dr. Joe.

  3. 357

    Begich got caught carrying Obama and Reid’s water on this one. I bet a lot of Alaskan vets are wishing he carried their water.

  4. VFW - Korea

    Hooray! Thank you Dan Sullivan for having the courage to speak up for veterans. Begich’s comment the other day about waiting for the completed study was bs. Reading studies isn’t leadership. Again, thank you for calling for the Secretary’s resignation and thank you for your continued service to our country in the Marine reserves.

  5. Lynn Willis

    Calling for heads is expected political rhetoric when you have no solutions to offer. Of course General Shinseki is responsible for the performance of his department and will now pay the price for his inattention to detail and his apparent trust of those who have an agenda that has little to do with veteran care. As did General Colin Powell, General Shinseki has learned that he chose, not to fly with eagles, but to swim with piranhas after he left the Army. General Shinseki was correct when, as Army Chief of Staff, he warned President Bush that the US was not deploying enough troops for the occupation of Iraq which resulted in occupation chaos, increased US casualties, and ultimately the need for increased troops later in the campaign. He was correct; however, he was forced out to the Army for that call. He should have learned then what the consequences are for those who jeopardize the image of career politicians.

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