House VA chairman: Shinseki did an 'absolutely abysmal job'
By Rebecca Shabad - 05/16/14 10:18 AM EDT
House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) late Thursday said VA Secretary Eric Shinseki did an “absolutely abysmal job” trying to re-instill trust within the agency at a hearing that day.
On CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” Miller said Shinseki’s testimony before Congress Thursday makes him “less convinced” the appropriate leaders are running VA.
“I have said that I wanted to wait until the entire [Office of Inspector General] investigation is complete,” Miller said. “Now, unfortunately, they're telling us it may be August before it is done. But the secretary did an absolutely abysmal job of trying to re-instill faith and confidence in a very broken system.”
Miller previously said he would wait until the inspector general probe is complete until he decides whether to join calls for Shinseki’s resignation. He stopped short of explicitly calling for it on CNN.
Lawmakers grilled Shinseki at a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing about allegations of wrongdoing at VA facilities nationwide.
Shinseki said he has been “mad as hell” about the reports, but said he was unaware of officials “cooking the books” at VA hospitals to make it appear like veterans were receiving medical appointments on time.
Miller said he doesn’t understand how the person in charge of the second largest federal agency didn’t know about this misconduct.
“And it tells me one of two things, either his subordinates, his leadership underneath him has not been telling him the truth or he is just woefully unprepared to lead the agency,” he said.
Earlier this week, Miller called on President Obama to establish a bipartisan commission to investigate the allegations against the VA.
Obama announced Wednesday he is dispatching deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors to oversee the VA review.
“I think it is total spin control,” Miller said about the White House’s efforts to oversee the investigation.
“People are rapidly losing faith,” he added. “And today the secretary did nothing in his testimony to help restore that faith.”