Assigns Deputy Chief Of Staff To Veterans Affairs Review
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[May 15, 2014]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President
Barack Obama is dispatching his deputy chief of staff, Rob Nabors, to
help oversee a review of the Department of Veterans Affairs as anger
grows over evidence that veterans died while waiting for care.
Obama, through his spokesman, has voiced his confidence in
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki repeatedly, but the retired
four star general has faced calls for his resignation following
reports that up to 40 veterans died while waiting for appointments
or specialist care at a VA hospital in Phoenix.
"While we get to the bottom of what happened in Phoenix, it's clear
the VA needs to do more to ensure quality care for our veterans,"
Obama said Wednesday in a statement. "I'm grateful that Rob, one of
my most trusted advisers, has agreed to work with Secretary Shinseki
to help the team at this important moment."
The move demonstrated White House concern that the issue is taking
on growing political weight. Shinseki is scheduled to testify about
the problems before a Senate committee on Thursday.
Nabors, a former director of White House legislative affairs and
former deputy budget director, will be re-assigned to Veterans
Affairs on a temporary basis. Shinseki, who is spearheading the
review, said in a statement released by the White House that he
appreciated Nabors's help.
"I welcome Rob's perspective in helping us to ensure veterans have
access to timely quality health care," he said. "If allegations
about manipulation of appointment scheduling are true, they are
completely unacceptable - to veterans, to me, and to our dedicated
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As more reports surface of alleged schemes to mask long wait times
at VA hospitals and clinics, Shinseki's testimony will be critical
to saving his job. White House support for the former general could
dip if he fails to show credibly in his testimony to the Senate
Veterans Affairs Committee that he was not aware of any cover-ups of
appointment wait times.
(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Ken Wills)
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