Boehner: I haven’t called for Shinseki to resign but ‘I’m getting a little closer’


McClatchy Washington Bureau

House Speaker John Boehner warned Thursday the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs go beyond just those at the top.

“I've not called for General Shinseki to resign,” the Ohio Republican said of Secretary Eric Shinseki, “although I have to admit I'm getting a little closer.

“But here's the point: This isn't about one person,” Boehner said at his weekly news conference. “This isn't about the secretary. It's about the entire system underneath him. And you know, the general can leave and we can wait around for months to go through a nomination process and we get a new person. But the disaster continues.”

President Barack Obama Wednesday vowed to punish those responsible for alleged misconduct at the department, and said he trusted Shinseki.

“We all share the American people's outrage about the horrors at the VA, outrage the president belatedly echoed yesterday,” Boehner said. “You know, the White House keeps talking about its efforts to increase VA funding, but where's the accountability?”

The House Wednesday passed a measure that would make it easier for agency to fire people for poor performance. Senators have been reluctant to go along.

“Instead of waffling, the president should support this bill and call on Senate Democrats to pass it immediately. And the president's made a lot of promises to our veterans; it's time for him to start keeping them,” Boehner said.

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