President Donald Trump is scheduled to sign an executive order Thursday afternoon increasing accountability for inept and corrupt employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and veterans advocates are pleased with the plan — even if no one’s completely sure what the plan is yet.
Veterans Affairs is embroiled in an existential crisis, and Congress is faced with the aftermath of a scandal that grows worse by the day. Task & Purpose’s Stephen Carlson sat down with the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Florida Republican Congressman Jeff Miller, to discuss deception, bureaucratic incompetence and where the VA needs to go from here.
On Friday, the Veterans Affairs scandal claimed another political victim. Secretary Eric Shinseki was forced to resign as the political pressure reached a boil. President Barack Obama said he accepted the former four-star general’s resignation “with deep regret.” Many have used this occasion and the various sound bites to dissect the president’s management style and overall competence. Many have dug into the details of the inspector general’s interim report to see just how VA employees and managers manipulated the various bureaucratic systems to falsify the wait times veterans were experiencing in their pursuits of health care. And many have offered statements of condemnation and outrage and recommendations for how to solve the problems that plague the agency.
The House of Representatives is mulling legislation that would give the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, currently headed by retired Army Gen. Eric Shineski, increased authority to fire senior officials at the VA, and the legislation looks like it has a real chance of getting through.