Durbin to meet with Shinseki as Kirk lauds extra VA IG funding

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WASHINGTON — Sen. Dick Durbin is meeting with embattled Veterans Administration Secretary Eric Shinseki on Thursday. Meanwhile, Durbin and Sen. Mark Kirk R-Ill., who both sit on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said they supported an approps panel on Tuesday adding $5 million to the VA inspector general to probe the heath treatment delays and cooked books. 

Kirk said in a statement, “The recent allegations of secret wait lists and long wait times at Department of Veterans Affairs hospitals in Illinois and across the country are unacceptable. This bill provides the VA’s Office of Inspector General an additional $5 million above the President’s request to get to the bottom of the wait list scandal. This review (which will include all five Illinois VA hospitals) will ensure that no Illinois veteran will ever be subject to the misconduct of a secret wait list.

“This bill also recognizes that VA bonuses provided an undue motivation for establishing secret wait lists. I look forward to passing this year’s funding bill through committee and into law in a bipartisan fashion to ensure our veterans are no longer neglected by those charged with their care.” 

Rep. Tammy Duckworth D-Ill. says Shinseki needs to “fix” the VA problems but stopped short of calling for him to resign. My May 11 Duckworth / VA column is HERE. The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe talks to Duckworth about Shinseki, her time at the VA and, as a wounded Iraq war vet, her own VA health care experiences.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger R-Ill. on Sunday called for Shinseki to resign; my post is HERE.

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