“I am encouraged to know that new leadership will have the opportunity to make the massive changes necessary to clean up the broken bureaucracy at the VA. Secretary Shinseki is a good man who has served his country honorably, but the systemic problems we’ve seen require a new direction and a renewed commitment from both the Administration and Congress,” said Kinzinger, himself a veteran in a news release. “When the men and women who volunteer to defend this country return home, they deserve nothing but the best our country has to offer and I stand ready to work with anyone and everyone to see that they get it.”
Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D)IL-17 called the decision 'appropriate,' but added it "will not itself solve the systemic problems within the VA. New leadership, however, is a necessary first step in restoring faith in the agency. As investigations continue, we must ensure that all those found negligent in the care of our veterans, criminal or otherwise, are held accountable.”
President Obama accepted Shinseki's resignation, saying in a news conference, "He does not want to be a distraction ... My assessment was, unfortunately, that he was right. I regret that he has to resign under these circumstances," Obama said after a face-to-face meeting with Shinseki. "I agree, we don't have time for distractions, we need to fix the problem."
Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson will serve as acting Secretary.
Earlier in the day, Shinseki addressed the issue while speaking to a homeless veterans advocacy group, saying, "I can't explain the lack of integrity among the leaders of some of our health care facilities," Shinseki told the group, calling it something he "rarely encountered" during his time in uniform. "I Was Too Trusting," he admitted.
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