Today’s Spotlight: VA Secretary Confirmation Hearing
Posted at 10:05 a.m. on July 22, 2014
McDonald speaks with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, on July 10 on Capitol Hill. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee this afternoon holds a confirmation hearing on the nomination of Robert A. McDonald to be secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is likely that many questions for McDonald will focus on the VA’s health care organizational culture and management.
However, today’s session is not likely to reprise the largely laudatory 2009 confirmation hearing of former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki. The January 2009 hearing did not refer to any problems with patient treatment wait times. The only senator at the hearing hinting at cultural problems within the agency was Washington Democrat Patty Murray, who asked Shinseki:
And I wanted you to share with this committee how, you as secretary, can build within the VA a culture that focuses on preventing — or on providing — for veterans’ needs rather than sort of avoiding public-relation disasters? How do you change that culture and what will we see under your administration?