Obama VA Nominee Gets Warm Reception From Lawmakers
Members of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs indicated Tuesday they would likely endorse Robert McDonald, President Barack Obama's nominee to take over the Department of Veterans Affairs. A full Senate vote could come as early as next week.
The Washington Post: Obama Nominee McDonald Pledges To ‘Transform’ VA
President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs pledged Tuesday to transform the beleaguered agency, saying that “systematic failures” must be addressed. Robert McDonald cited problems with patient access to health care, transparency, accountability and integrity, among other issues (7/22).
The Wall Street Journal: VA Nominee Gets Warm Reception At Confirmation
If confirmed, Mr. McDonald would take over from Sloan Gibson, who has been acting as VA secretary since Eric Shinseki's resignation in late May following revelations of systemic problems including falsified reports about patient appointment wait times. Mr. McDonald was a paratrooper in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division before beginning a 33-year career at Procter & Gamble Co., including serving as CEO from 2009 to 2011 (Kesling and Schwarz, 7/22).
Modern Healthcare: McDonald Moves Closer to VA Secretary Role; Senate Could Vote by Aug. 1
Robert McDonald on Tuesday moved a step closer to Senate confirmation as the next secretary of veterans affairs, appearing before the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs to favorable comments from committee members. A formal committee vote on his nomination is likely as soon as Wednesday. Full Senate confirmation could come before Congress' August recess begins (Dickson, 7/22).
And a VA funding bill hits a long-term funding roadblock --
USA Today: VA Budget Request Snags Veterans Health Bill
After meeting last week, lawmakers say they won't send a stopgap veterans' health bill to the president's desk without working out details on longer term Veterans Affairs spending. The rift comes after VA acting Secretary Sloan Gibson sent Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., a memo detailing how VA would use the $17.6 billion Gibson requested last week as part of "additional resource needs" through fiscal year 2017 (Kennedy, 7/22).
Meanwhile, a Missouri whistleblower asks about future protections --
St. Louis Post Dispatch: Local VA Whisteblower Questions Acting Secretary During St. Louis Visit
As the acting secretary of Veterans Affairs vowed to crack down on whistleblower retaliation in the department, the former chief of psychiatry at the local VA health care system said he was recently demoted for the second time after filing a complaint last fall. Dr. Jose Mathews on Tuesday asked secretary Sloan Gibson what protections he and other whistleblowers can expect after a national crisis of treatment delays has uncovered numerous problems in the VA health care system. Gibson, who was in St. Louis for the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, addressed VA employees in a town hall meeting at the John Cochran hospital on North Grand Boulevard (Bernhard, 7/23).