Last Wednesday, the House passed a bill that will simplify the process of firing senior VA officials involved in the recent healthcare scandal. The vote took place just a few hours after President Obama delivered a speech, which did not satisfy many who were hoping to quickly implement measures against the VA. Democrats were the only ones who voted against the bill.
The VA has admitted that prolonged wait periods for health clinics played a role in the death of over 40 veterans. We later learned that the VA has known about these problems for years but has tried to hide them.
The President’s speech took place amongst recent calls for the resignation of Eric Shinseki, the VA secretary. Essentially, Obama said he would not be firing Shinseki–rather, he will wait for an Inspector General report to emerge.
Disregarding the President’s speech, the GOP said that it would take action to begin cleaning house at the VA. According to House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), Shinseki already has the authority to fire VA officials, but the process is too slow and cumbersome due to bureaucratic red tape.