The chairmen of House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees on Sunday decried long waits and backlogs at the nations VA hospitals but stopped short of calling for the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.
“You’ve got an entrenched bureaucracy that exists out there that is not held accountable, that is shooting for goals — goals that are not helping the veterans,” said Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House panel
“I think some people may be cooking the books” to suggest waiting times are shorter than they actually are, said Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who chairs the counterpart Senate committee.
Both chairmen were interviewed on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that the Justice Department “has to be involved.” He said there is “credible and specific evidence of criminal wrongdoing across the country” at VA hospitals.
“We’re not rushing to judgment. But the Department of Justice can convene a grand jury, if necessary,” Blumenthal said.
Lawmakers from both parties have pressed for policy changes and better management as the Department of Veterans Affairs confronts allegations about treatment delays and falsified records at VA centers around the country.
The program serves nearly 9 million veterans.