Three of the five candidates seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate say it’s time for the head of the Veterans Administration to go. Allegations of fake waiting lists, to mask long delays in medical treatment for veterans, have surfaced in the V.A. Retired four-star General Eric Shinseki, the head of the V.A., has said he’s “mad as hell” and redoubling efforts to reduce patient backlogs. Candidate Joni Ernst, a soldier in the Iowa National Guard, says Shinseki should resign.
“The Veterans Administration from the top down, it has been a complete failure,” Ernst says. “We have seen too many instances of the long waiting lists, veterans issues not being addressed immediately. He is ultimately responsible. The burden falls on his shoulders. He needs to resign and they need to put in place somebody that will find solutions for our veterans.”
Senate candidate Matt Whitaker, a former federal prosecutor, agrees.
“When you’re at the top of a government organization, while you’re not making all of those decisions, you’re responsible to run an organization that does it the right way and you know what has happened is just an outrage,” Whitaker says.
Candidate Mark Jacobs, a retired business executive, says the “systematic failure” of the V.A. to provide good care for America’s veterans “warrants new leadership at the VA.” Beyond anger, Jacobs says President Obama needs to show leadership and put someone else in charge of the V.A. system.
Candidate Sam Clovis, a retired Air Force pilot, says the problem is bigger than Shinseki.
“He needs to be grilled by congress, House and the Senate — both, and we need to get to the bottom of this, then the determination should be made on whether or not, you know, if he is responsible and, if so, then, yes, he ought to go,” Clovis says. “But I think he ought to have to sit there until this thing has been done because I think it’s better to stew in your own juices for a little a bit than for somebody to give you a free pass out.”
Scott Schaben, a former Navy sailor who is also running for the GOP’s U.S. Senate nomination, said last Thursday that he doesn’t have an opinion as to whether Shinseki should stay or go.
The five GOP candidates for Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat meet at 6:30 tonight in a televised debate hosted by KCCI in Des Moines.