Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
March 31, 2015

McCain: ‘We Should All Be Ashamed’ of VA Health Scandal

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In the weekly GOP address, one of the Senate’s few remaining veterans criticized the Obama administration’s management of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Sen. John McCain cited the initial reports of veterans dying while waiting to receive medical treatment at a VA facility in his home state of Arizona, as well as the widespread scandal that’s developed since then.

“Hundreds, if not thousands, of veterans have been made to suffer more or even passed away as a result of egregious mismanagement and scheduling delays at the VA. No one should be treated this way in a country as great as ours,” McCain said. “But treating those to whom we owe the most so callously — so ungratefully — is unconscionable, and we should all be ashamed.”

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki announced on Friday that he had accepted the resignation of Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel, though Republicans were quick to point out that Petzel was already planning to retire.

“Decent care for our veterans is among the most solemn obligations a nation incurs, and we will be judged by God and history by how well we discharge ours,” McCain said in the Saturday address. “That’s why I’m so deeply troubled by the recent allegations of gross mismanagement, fraud and neglect at a growing number of Veterans Administration medical centers across the country.”

McCain joined calls for granting the VA secretary, currently Shinseki, new personnel management authorities.

“Congress must also give VA administrators greater ability to hire and fire those charged with caring for our veterans. Most importantly, we must give veterans greater flexibility in how they get quality care in a timely manner,” McCain said, adding that “Veterans have earned the right to choose where and when they get their medical care. And it is our responsibility to ensure that they are afforded this option.”

The House is scheduled to consider legislation next week that would grant the secretary more power over senior executive personnel.

  • Jim S.

    “Why in 2009 were we still using paper?” VA Assistant Secretary Tommy
    Sowers “When we came in, there was no plan to change that; we’ve been
    operating on a six month wait for over a decade.” 27 March 2013

    GOOD QUESTION THOSE SERVED SHOULD ANSWER, added to the past decades and
    wars of the ignoring of many issues along with the denying they exist!
    Think PTS, Agent Orange and Desert Storms Gulf War Syndrom, to name but
    only a very few, most now being addressed under This VA and Executive
    branch even though grossly, decades and wars from, under funded!!

    The real scandal is those Served have yet to Sacrifice, DeJa-Vu all over again:
    same lawmakers now subpoening, and with their flag waving patriots(?)
    supporting, that rubber stamped the two wars, and all related, costs off
    the books and on the credit card, quickly abandoning the missions and
    those sent after 9/11, while doing extremely little for not only the
    veterans of but also us previous veterans and from the decades and wars
    before, while once again under a conservative led VA, DeJa-Vu!!

    Sixth District Congressional candidate Seth Moulton: “Congress has made ‘travesty’ of veterans care” 05/14/2014

    Veterans Affairs Ideology, Fire Gen. Shinseki, because unlike
    conservative administrations he’s actually fighting to build the VA the
    country should have always had, and he’s got the backing and help from
    this entire executive cabinet, again unlike conservative administrations
    and conservative congresses!!

    Just what the conservative, in
    this case the Always reactive and not proactive for vets, the legion,
    with their grossly over paid executives, ideology wants, Get rid of one
    that’s doing the job and in this case with help from the entire cabinet,
    hired to do, just as the conservatives in congress want,

    military action is worth our troops’ blood, it should be worth our
    treasure, too” “not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific
    ante by every American.” -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

    were Jubilant when conservatives controlled congress and the bush fired
    the General for being Honest, now their call is being picked up through
    one of the so called established Veterans organization the American
    Legion! All were praising the VA during that time, of total conservative
    control, even though extremely little was being done as the long
    ignored veterans issues were still being ignored while two more wars,
    and long occupations from, were being rubber stamped as to costs, still
    unpaid for, and these younger veterans were joining our veterans
    community seeking the commitment the Country promises and the Country
    waved flags, and other symbols, of that ‘patriotic’ commitment only,
    DeJa-Vu all over again! Their long want is to privatize government
    agencies for corporate profit, much more costly, and unregulated running
    of, just like their national security wars!

    TX-19 Congressional
    Candidate Neal Marchbanks – Veteran: 28 March 2014 – “Congress controls
    the budget for the VA and it is the fault of Congress that the VA does
    not have enough employees and that the facilities are too small.”
    Congress, in Veteran Marchbanks statement, are the people served and who representatives work for, or are supposed to!

    years also is a long time. We now have a lifetime responsibility to a
    generation of service members, veterans and their families.” Dr.
    Jonathan Woodson 11 Sep. 2013: ‘With 9/11 Came Lifetime Responsibility’
    {two tax cuts, especially huge for the wealthy, with not a bit of guilt
    conscious for, came with these two recent unpaid for wars, nor the
    results of, DeJa-Vu all over again from the previous decades and wars
    from! Ignore the many issues, by those served, no need to fund!}

    USN All Shore ’67-’71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country ’70-’71 – Independent

    • Jim S.

      “Lets not treat these Vets like Vietnam Vets”

      That’s what the whole country served said about us Vietnam Veterans and the now OEF and OIF Veterans right from the beginning!!

      they quickly cheered on abandoning the missions and those sent to
      accomplish after 9/11! They started slapping on magnetic ‘support the
      troops’ symbols all over which quickly just plain disappeared! Then the
      talk was about everyone, elected officials especially, should be wearing
      lapel flag pins, I don’t even pay attention whether they do or don’t
      knowing they’re not ‘supporting’ anyone who Actually Sacrifices, and
      that includes public servants of all stripes! They loves waving them
      ‘patriotic’ flags and think they’re more ‘patriotic’ then many others!
      Then they want Parades and complain because we have yet had a Ticker
      Tape NYC parade, even though the abandoned 9/11 missions is still
      ongoing but finally winding down! They loves passing around the cute
      video’s of returning soldiers surprising their kids and families! And on
      and on and on!

      But None Of That Is Sacrificing as in Paying For Wars and Especially the Decades To Follow Results From!!!

      DeJa-Vu all over again!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Disqus10021

    We launched the War on Terror on the cheap, even as the government cut taxes twice. The VA was not prepared to deal with the surge in wounded soldiers while continuing to serve aging Viet Nam vets. Spare us the crocodile tears, Senator McCain. I suspect that you still regret that we didn’t send in troops into Syria.

    The US can’t afford to be the policeman of the world. Another adventure abroad should just about finish off the American Middle Class.

    When it comes time to send Israel its defense subsidy for 2014-15, send to the bill to AIPAC instead and reappropriate the subsidy money to the VA.


    Another thing that the republicans should be “ashamed” of, is the fact that they STILL haven’t passed the unemployment extension bill, for the 2.6 million unemployed families in this country. Since late last December, the republicans have held the extension bill “hostage” in the senate, for political leverage, to get the Koch Brother’s XL Oil Pipeline approved in return for their vote on the extension bill. The republicans have used these unfortunate families as bargaining chips, not caring about what these families are going through. Many of these families have lost everything, while waiting these past five months for the extension bill to pass, to help them survive financially until they find employment. The republicans have continued to make delay after delay, stalling so that time would run out for the passing of the bill in the senate. This was a deliberate act, and these families will now have to continue suffering and struggling without any income. The republicans have shown a total lack of compassion, and common decency towards these families. There are now 2.6 million unemployed, and the number is growing every week. The American people are angry and will voice their anger at the ballot box in the coming elections. They will remember how the republican senate made their lives a living hell.

  • Andre Leonard

    I’m more ashamed of McCain. Sitting in congress the last 33 years and accomplishing nothing.

  • John Kenner

    I wonder how many people will have their identities stolen when the Obamacare website is hacked?

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