Pledges To Uphold 'Sacred Trust' With U.S. Veterans
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[May 27, 2014]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - At the end of
a week rocked by allegations of mismanagement and cover-ups at the
Department of Veterans Affairs, President Barack Obama used his weekly
address on Saturday to vow again to make sure veterans get the necessary
"Let's keep working to make sure that our country upholds our
sacred trust to all who've served," Obama said in his address, which
aired on Memorial Day holiday weekend, when Americans honor their
"In recent weeks, we've seen again how much more our nation has to
do to make sure all our veterans get the care they deserve," he
The VA said on Saturday it is taking steps nationally and locally to
ensure veterans receive timely care, including providing access to
private facilities when necessary.
"Each of our facilities is either enhancing their clinic capacity to
help veterans get care sooner, or where we cannot increase capacity,
increasing the care we acquire in the community through non-VA
care," the agency said in a statement.
Obama responded personally this week to a growing furor that
veterans had suffered long delays in receiving healthcare, making
clear that Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki's job could be
on the line.
Shinseki is slated to give Obama the preliminary results of a review
of the scope of the problems next week. Obama has assigned Rob
Nabors, one of his top aides, to conduct his own look into what
happened. Nabors' review is due next month.
The agency's inspector general, an independent watchdog, is also
investigating the allegations. Its review is due in August.
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Republican lawmakers are planning investigations and have criticized
Obama for being slow to respond.
"Now that we've ended the war in Iraq, and as our war in Afghanistan
ends as well, we have to work even harder as a nation to make sure
all our veterans get the benefits and opportunities they've earned,"
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Additional reporting by Steve
Holland; Editing by Peter Cooney and Steve Orlofsky)
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