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WASHINGTON—Rep. Adam Kinzinger R-Ill. said he doubted that Veterans Administration Secretary Eric Shinseki survives the scandal over veterans health care, triggered by deadly delays at Phoenix VA facilities and going further, said there needs to be “talk about who needs to end up in jail over this.”
Kinzinger, a pilot in the Air Force reserves, on Monday night told Fox News Megyn Kelly, anchor of the “Kelly File.”” Look, not only do people need to be suspended, not only do they need to be fired, we need to talk about who needs to end up in jail over this. Because if you are going through and creating a problem that is in some cases maybe costing veterans their lives, it’s negligence and this goes to a level that’s far beyond anything I think we’ve dealt with so far.”
“…: Look, Shinseki may be a good guy at heart. His window is very short. He needs to come out massively and change some things, but I don’t think he survives this, to be honest with you. The head of any company would be, you know, would be run out of town with these kind of results.
“He’s a great guy, I’m sure, but at some point we have to have answers and I wanna see massive, massive changes to the VA. We’ve been talking about this for too long, we’ve been talking about the backlog, and now we’re talking about people de-leaving records to make themselves look good and not worrying about the care of veterans. It’s offensive, it has to stop and this is something America ought to be incensed about. In a bipartisan way, it’s not Republican or Democrat. It’s American.”
In my Monday column I reported that Rep. Tammy Duckworth D-Ill.—who worked for Shinseki when she was an assistant secretary at the VA—stopped short of calling for the outster of her former boss—while cutting him little slack. I think that if this is truly happening, then he needs to fix it,” Duckworth told me. “So I would not support calling for him to resign. I think he needs to figure out what is happening and he should have the opportunity to fix it.”
Calls for the resignation of Shinseki, part of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet since the beginning, are coming from the American Legion and several members of Congress. They were triggered by allegations of a cover-up of delays in the Phoenix VA health care system, with at least 40 vets dying because of lack of treatment.