May 28, 2014, 03:50 pm
Dem senator says Shinseki must go
By Ian Swanson
Sen. Mark Udall (Colo.) on Wednesday became the first Democratic senator to call for Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign.
Udall called for the resignation in a message on Twitter after the VA's Office of Inspector General released an interim report finding systemic problems at VA facilities where veterans have waited for treatment.
In light of IG report & systemic issues at @DeptVetAffairs, Sec. Shinseki must step down: http://t.co/7zfNxqQMZa
— Mark Udall (@MarkUdall) May 28, 2014
Udall faces a tough reelection challenge this year from Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).
Republicans also stepped up their calls for Shinseki to resign after the release of the report, as members of the military establishment broke from the embattled secretary.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), who previously had backed Shinseki, released a statement Wednesday saying it would be best if he stepped down.
“General Shinseki has given his life to serving this country and for that, we are in his debt," his statement said. "However, the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs have grown beyond what this nation can bear. I believe America’s veterans would be best served with a fresh set of eyes on the VA system. Only new innovations and aggressive reform can get the problems at the VA under control.
"It would be best if General Shinseki stepped down as Secretary, both as an example for other VA leaders and to lay the groundwork for new leadership to meet with success," McKeon concluded.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) earlier called for Shinseki's resignation.