Advertisement

Senate approves VA Secretary Bob McDonald

Robert McDonald was confirmed unanimously by the Senate to take over as secretary of Veterans Affairs.

By
Gabrielle Levy
Robert A. McDonald, nominee for secretary of Veterans Affairs, testifies during his confirmation hearing before the United States Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, July 22, 2014. UPI/Ron Sachs
Robert A. McDonald, nominee for secretary of Veterans Affairs, testifies during his confirmation hearing before the United States Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, July 22, 2014. UPI/Ron Sachs | License Photo

WASHINGTON, July 29 (UPI) -- The Senate voted Tuesday to confirm former Proctor & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald to take over the beleaguered Veterans Affairs Department as secretary, following the resignation of his predecessor over revelations of mismanagement.

Senators voted unanimously, 97-0, to confirm McDonald to tackle the myriad problems facing the agency.

Advertisement

McDonald's nomination was approved unanimously by the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs last week after members from both sides of the aisle offered glowing recommendations of McDonald's qualifications, which include five years in the U.S. Army.

"I think that Mr. McDonald brings to us two very important qualities: He is familiar with the military because he has served in the military, and he has been the CEO of one of the major American corporations," Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said at the hearing. "It is no question we need good quality management, and I hope Mr. McDonald's corporate experience will give him the tools that he needs."

RELATED Lawmakers announce $17b deal to fix VA wait times

McDonald will be charged with implementing legislation, expected to pass shortly in both chambers, that will deal with improving wait times for appointments in the Veterans Health Administration and will allow veterans to seek care outside the system as well as expanding capacity within.

He will also be expected to overhaul the department's culture, with the new legislation making it easier for the secretary to fire incompetent or otherwise deceptive officials, such as those involved in covering up lengthy wait times by keeping veterans on secret lists.

Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson, who took over the role upon the resignation of Eric Shinseki, will stay on as deputy secretary once McDonald is sworn in.

RELATED McDonald promises systematic change at VA confirmation hearing

RELATED Biden optimistic on VA bill, Reid doubtful

RELATED Obama taps Bob McDonald, former Procter & Gamble CEO, to head VA

RELATED Senate quickly passes VA access bill, could cost $50b a year

RELATED House passes VA healthcare access bill unanimously

RELATED More than 57,000 veterans waiting for first appointment according to VA audit

RELATED Shinseki resigns as head of VA

RELATED Watchdog: Phoenix veterans waited 115 days for care [UPDATE]

Latest Headlines