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Op-Ed: After Shinseki’s misrule, VA needs accountability

By Concerned Veterans for America

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After Shinseki’s misrule, VA needs accountability

As Seen In USA Today

By Darin Selnick May 30, 2014 An alarming internal report on the patient care crisis at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) sheds new light on just how dysfunctional and broken the VA has become. One reader of the VA inspector general (IG) report described the situation as “irresponsible,” “reprehensible,” “indefensible” and “unacceptable,” adding that the agency suffers from a “systemic, totally unacceptable lack of integrity.” Who offered this harshly critical take on the VA’s performance? It was none other than VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, under whose watch the reprehensible, indefensible and unacceptable scandal unfolded and grew like a cancer. So it’s not entirely surprising that Shinseki resigned from his position on Friday… … The question is, what happens now? The VA is more than one man, and it’s important to remember that the secretary’s departure is not the final word on the VA’s woes. This should not be seen as an end, but a beginning. Now comes the hard work of turning around a deeply troubled agency. … Some at the VA and in the Obama administration may hope that Shinseki’s resignation proves that the VA problem is solved. But the urge to simply “move on” must be resisted. With the change in leadership, the opportunity now emerges for the VA to embrace a true culture of reform, accountability and integrity in its operations. … Members of Congress who have asserted more oversight of the flailing department should continue to demand change. A good place to start would be with demanding an up-or-down vote on Senator Marco Rubio’s VA Management Accountability Act in the Senate. This bill, which already passed the House of Representatives by a large bipartisan majority, would empower the next VA secretary to remove and replace executives who fail to perform. It’s a critical and common sense reform that would go a long way toward starting the VA on the road to repair. … With Shinseki’s departure, many may hope that we can now turn the page on the VA scandal. But the proper way to honor those who have suffered from the VA’s cruelty and mismanagement is to keep up the pressure so that this department will once again fulfill its mission of providing the highest quality care to our veterans and their families and thereby fulfill President Lincoln’s promise “to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.” Click here to read the full opinion piece in USA Today.

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Concerned Veterans for America is a non-partisan, non-profit, 501(c)(4) organization that advocates for policies that will preserve the freedom and liberty we and our families so proudly fought and sacrificed to defend.