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Shinseki, subpoenaed by House VA Committee, orders face-to-face audit of all VA clinics

Shinseki: "I serve at the pleasure of the president. I signed on to make some changes. I have work to do."
By JC Sevcik   |   May 8, 2014 at 5:30 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, May 8 (UPI) --Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki ordered a face-to-face audit of all VA clinics Thursday. The VA Chief was also subpoenaed by the House Veterans Affairs Committee earlier in the day.

It's fair to say: Eric Shinseki is having a rough week.

Monday, Daniel Dellinger, the national commander of the American Legion, issued a statement calling for Shinseki's resignation.

Tuesday, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Arizona, wrote a letter to Shinseki, calling for a nationwide audit of the VA's scheduling system.

Wednesday, several GOP representatives echoed Dellinger's call, publicly asking the secretary to step down from the floor of the Senate.

Thursday, the house panel agreed in a verbal vote to subpoena the secretary.

The subpoena, the demand for the audits, and the calls for Shinseki's resignation all come in response to a recent records falsification scandal at the Phoenix VA. Allegations that veterans died avoidable deaths due to delays in healthcare caused by the department and covered up by its administration with a secret waiting list have put a target on Shinseki's back.

Shinseki was quick to respond when CNN broke the original story about the scandal at the Phoenix VA, saying: "These allegations, if true, are absolutely unacceptable and if the Inspector General's investigation substantiates these claims, swift and appropriate action will be taken."

The secretary immediately launched an investigation and placed the director and other management of the facility on administrative leave pending the findings. However, veterans and Congress still seem to want accountability to come from the top.

But Shinseki told the Wall Street Journal Tuesday that he would not step down. "I serve at the pleasure of the president," Shinseki said when asked if he would resign. "I signed on to make some changes. I have work to do."

Through his press secretary, Jay Carney, Obama voiced his continued support of Shinseki, "The President remains confident in Secretary Shinseki's ability to lead the department and take appropriate action."

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