AR Congressional Delegation Reacts to VA Secretary's Resignation

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Members of Arkansas's congressional delegation are sharing their reaction to the resignation of the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Eric Shinseki stepped down from his post in a morning briefing with President Barack Obama at the White House.

Sen. Mark Pryor, Rep. Tim Griffin and Rep Tom Cotton issued the following statements on the resignation.

Statement by Senator Mark Pryor on Secretary Shinseki:
U.S. Senator Mark Pryor released the following statement regarding Secretary Shinseki’s resignation as head of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This week, Pryor spoke with the Directors of the Little Rock and Fayetteville VA to determine whether any of the same abuses uncovered in recent reports occurred here in Arkansas.

"Secretary Shinseki is a decorated war hero, and there's no question he cares deeply about our veterans after 40 years wearing our nation's uniform. I respect his service to our country, and I respect his decision today to step down as VA Secretary in light of the disturbing treatment of veterans at facilities in Arizona and elsewhere. It’s clear there’s a lack of integrity within the VA system and we need to fix it immediately. We have a long road ahead, but I will deliver on my promise to get to the bottom of this for Arkansas veterans."

Statement by Rep. Tim Griffin on Secretary Shinseki:
“On May 12, I called for Secretary Shinseki’s resignation, and I welcome today’s announcement as a key step toward accountability and bold reform. Make no mistake, a new leader alone won't cure what ails the VA; the only cure is bold, innovative reform that will undoubtedly receive massive resistance from entrenched defenders of the status quo. But, the best interests of veterans must prevail. Many veterans and their families have already suffered too much, and it is essential that we reform this bureaucracy to ensure our veterans receive the treatment they need, have earned and deserve. Whatever is best for our veterans – not the federal bureaucracy – should be our priority. The VA has the budget and authority to provide our veterans with the best care, regardless of whether it is at a government or private hospital. I am committed to working with my colleagues to enact effective reforms to ensure mistreatment of our veterans never happens again and to keep our nation’s promise to take care of America’s heroes.”

On May 12, 2014, Rep. Griffin sent a letter to President Obama calling for the resignations at the VA of Secretary Eric Shinseki, Under Secretary for Health Robert Petzel, and Under Secretary for Benefits Allison Hickey. Full text of the letter can be found here.

Statement by Rep. Tom Cotton on Secretary Shinseki:
"Secretary Shinseki's resignation is an overdue first step toward the reforms needed to get our veterans the care they deserve.  I'm disappointed that, as usual, Senator Pryor stuck with President Obama until the very end, but even the President realized Secretary Shinseki needed to resign. Our veterans and all Arkansans need a senator who will lead, not one who will defer to Barack Obama."

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