News

Veteran’s Affairs secretary won’t resign, is ‘angry’ over claims

Veteran’s Affairs secretary won’t resign, is ‘angry’ over claims

WOUNDED WARRIORS:President Barack Obama, accompanied by Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, left, welcome the Wounded Warrior Project’s Soldier Ride as they circle the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, April 17. The cyclists were in specially built bikes that could accommodate amputations or other injuries. Photo: Associated Press/J. Scott Applewhite

(Reuters) – U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said on Wednesday he was “angry” over claims that as many as 40 people died while waiting for medical care in the veterans’ healthcare system and wants a full investigation, but does not plan to resign.

“What I want veterans to know … this is a good, quality healthcare system, not perfect, and when we stumble across our imperfections we’re going to do something about it, we get to the bottom of it, and to the best of our abilities assure it never happens again,” Shinseki said in an interview on NBC News.

Shinseki also said he was angry. Asked if he would resign, he said he serves “at the pleasure of the president.”

Some Republican lawmakers have called for Shinseki’s resignation. They include Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran, a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, who said on Tuesday the Veterans Affairs Department needed a “true transformation … from top to bottom.”

Veterans Affairs is the biggest U.S. healthcare system, with

1,700 hospitals, clinics and other facilities. It has nearly 9 million people enrolled.

The VA secretary put the director of a Phoenix hospital on indefinite leave last week while the department’s inspector general probes whistleblowers’ claims that up to 40 veterans may have died while waiting for medical appointments.

Two other hospital officials were also put on leave.

The American Legion, the biggest U.S. veterans group, and Concerned Veterans for America called on Monday for Shinseki, a former Army general twice wounded in Vietnam, to step down.

President Barack Obama has expressed support for Shinseki and the VA has defended his record.

Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, said on Monday firing him “doesn’t get us any closer to the truth or solve problems that may exist.”

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski and Ian Simpson; Editing by Paul Tait)

Recently Played

Latest Headlines

11 hours ago in Entertainment

Pitch, please: Julia Robert ‘sells’ sex toys on ‘Ellen’

25-overlay-10

The "Pretty Woman" star, who plays a host on the Home Shopping Network (HSN) in her new movie "Mother's Day," was tasked with gushing about a blind item, which members of the studio audience could see.

12 hours ago in Viral Videos

WATCH: Annoying Windows reminder interrupts live TV report

20-overlay-12

Please excuse this interruption ...

16 hours ago in Entertainment

REVIEW: ‘Green Room’ is a gory, good time

13-overlay-12

It's lean, mean, loud and grisly, and a ton of bloody fun.

16 hours ago in Entertainment

Appeals court to hear ex-Subway pitchman’s appeal May 20

jaredfogleAP

A federal appeals court in Chicago has set a May hearing for former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle's appeal of his more than 15-year sentence in a child sex abuse and pornography case.

18 hours ago in Music

Family gives blessing for Whitney Houston documentary

whitneyhouston97101313191

"The Whitney Houston project" - the first to be officially authorized by the singer's estate since her death in 2012 - will be helmed by Academy Award-winning Scottish director Kevin Macdonald.