Coffman Calls for Resignation of VA Secretary Shinseki
(Aurora, CO) -- Today, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO), the chairman of the House Veterans' Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, called on the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Eric Shinseki, to resign due to chronic mismanagement and systemic failures of the VA under his leadership, ranging from dramatic cost overruns in major construction projects to glaring patient safety problems.
"Secretary Shinseki has failed to provide any leadership for this organization and instead he has allowed himself to be led by a circle of incompetent and corrupt bureaucrats who have long forgotten that they are there for the sole purpose of serving those who have sacrificed so much on behalf of this nation," said Coffman, a Marine Corps combat veteran.
Coffman has been the O&I Subcommittee chairman since January of last year and in that time his subcommittee has led investigations and hearings into numerous allegations of systemic fraud and mismanagement.
"If he had these same responsibilities as an Army officer he would have been relieved a long time ago for his lack of leadership. If he fails to resign then the President, as the Commander-in-Chief, has a duty to fire him for gross incompetence," said Coffman, who also served in the Army as an enlisted soldier before transferring to the Marines.
The failures at the VA in recent years have included unacceptably long backlogs of veterans waiting for care, including an alleged coverup at the Phoenix VA that led to dozens of preventable deaths and most recently another potential coverup at the Fort Collins VA outpatient clinic in Colorado.
VA hospital projects around the country are years behind schedule and, on average, over $300 million over budget. Coffman has put forward legislation to bring the Army Corps of Engineers in as an emergency manager to take control of the VA's major medical construction projects.
"Secretary Shinseki was an Army infantry officer and the motto for Army infantry is lead, follow or get out of the way. It's time for him to get out of the way," said Coffman.