Grimes calls for VA Secretary's resignation as Ky. politicians weigh in on scandal in different ways

05/22/2014 01:13 PM

Allegations that U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs officials falsified data to hide how long veterans were waiting to see doctors, among other issues, has Kentucky politicians calling for action.

On Thursday Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes called for the resignation of the Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki.

“We owe a solemn obligation to our veterans, and our government defaulted on that contract. I don’t see how that breach of trust with our veterans can be repaired if the current leadership stays in place,” Grimes said in a statement.

Kentucky U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell in recent days has been calling on the Obama Administration for stronger leadership on the issue but has stopped short of calling for the resignation of Shinseki.

After President Obama addressed the scandal in a press conference Wednesday and tasked the VA chief with investigating the allegations, McConnell said it was nice to hear from the president on the issue finally but that more needed to be done.

McConnell carried that same tone into a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate Thursday where he said veterans deserve answers and accountability.

“The denial of care to our veterans is a national disgrace. And the scandal only seems to increase in scope by the day,” McConnell said in his speech. “First we heard about one hospital in Phoenix. Then we heard about 10 medical centers across the nation. Now there are at least two dozen VA facilities under investigation. It all leads to an obvious question: Just how widespread is this failure to treat our veterans?”

McConnell also mentioned the VA reform bill the U.S. House passed Wednesday which he says would make it easier to remove high-level employees of the agency for performance failures. He added there is no reason for his chamber not to pass that legislation quickly as well.

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, said in a statement that the reports of delayed service are “absolutely shameful” that veterans who fought for their country would have to wait for healthcare.

“While the VA inspector general continues to investigate links between wait times and veterans’ deaths, we already know there are unacceptable deficiencies in our system. And with more veterans than ever using VA medical facilities, Congress and the administration must also reassess the federal investment in veterans’ health to ensure they get the care they need – when they need it,” Yarmuth said in a statement.

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Pure Politics airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. ET and again at 11:30 p.m. ET in all of cn|2's Kentucky markets. The program features political analysis and news, as well as interviews with officials, candidates, policy makers and political observers.

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