Whether Shulkin Resigned Or Was Fired Goes Beyond Bickering — It Could Open Door To Legal Challenges
The Federal Vacancies Reform Act gives the president authority to temporarily fill a vacancy at a federal agency with an acting official if the current office holder “dies, resigns, or is otherwise unable to perform the functions and duties of the office.” But some legal experts note that the law does not explicitly grant that authority to the president in the case of firings. The White House and former VA Secretary David Shulkin have been refuting each other's claims over what happened.
Did Shulkin Get Fired Or Resign? This Is Why It Matters.
The White House is now asserting that recently departed Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin resigned. Shulkin has made it clear in his public comments that he was forced out. While Washington often wraps firings in the verbal cloak of a resignation, the distinction this time could have far-reaching implications that could throw the Department of Veterans Affairs, the second-largest federal agency, into further disarray. (Restuccia, 3/31)
The Associated Press:
White House Goes On Attack Over Shulkin's Claim He Was Fired
The White House is hitting back at former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin for claiming that he was fired from his job and that he was only informed about it shortly before President Donald Trump tweeted about his replacement. The Trump administration says he left his job willingly amid a bruising ethics scandal and mounting rebellion within the agency. The semantics of whether Shulkin resigned or was fired could be relevant to Trump's ability to name an acting VA secretary to temporarily fill his place. (Yen, 4/2)
The Associated Press:
Ousted Shulkin Rejects White House Claim He Resigned VA Job
But in television interviews, Shulkin said he had not submitted a resignation letter, or planned to, and was only told of Trump's decision shortly before the Twitter announcement. He said he had spoken to Trump by phone earlier that day about VA improvements, with no mention of his job status, and was scheduled to meet with the president the next morning. "I came to run the Department of Veterans Affairs because I'm committed to veterans," Shulkin said. "And I would not resign because I'm committed to making sure this job was seen through to the very end." (Yen, 4/2)
Ousted Veterans Affairs Head Warns Of Privatization Push
Trump announced Shulkin’s ouster Thursday in a Twitter message, in which he said he was nominating White House physician Ronny L. Jackson to head the department, which is second in size only to the Defense Department. Shulkin has warned that service members and their families could see a decrease in care if the agency goes ahead with plans to broaden its use of the private sector. (Decker and Edgerton, 4/1)
What Does The Shulkin Ouster Mean For Expansion Of VA Choice?
Veterans' healthcare, the sprawling, expensive system within the nation's sprawling, expensive system, is complicated and appears to be getting more so. The sudden Twitter firing of Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin reignited the politics around VA Choice—even as lawmakers and stakeholders said they hope the leadership shakeup won't further stall long-awaited expansion of the program. (Luthi, 3/31)
Trump VA Pick Hesitated To Take Job: Report
White House physician Ronny Jackson initially hesitated at the suggestion that he be nominated to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, The Washington Post reported Thursday. Jackson was reportedly shocked when Trump tapped him for the top job at the nation's second largest government agency, the Post reported, citing senior White House officials. (Greenwood, 3/30)
Sanders: 'We Know Nothing' About Trump's VA Pick
Sen. Bernie Sanders wouldn't commit to supporting President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, on Sunday. In an interview on CBS’ "Face the Nation," the Vermont independent noted that Jackson, Trump's personal physician, is a virtual unknown on veterans issues. He also expressed concerns the Trump administration is pushing to privatize the nearly $200 billion bureaucracy, citing the conservative agenda of the influential donors Charles and David Koch. (O'Brien, 4/1)