May 30, 2014
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has resigned amid widespread troubles in the VA health care system.
President Barack Obama says he accepted the resignation with "considerable regret." He and Shinseki met in the Oval Office on Friday morning.
Shinseki's resignation comes two days after a scathing internal report found broad and deep-seated problems in the sprawling health care system. The system provides care to about 6.5 million veterans annually.
The president said today that an initial review by Shinseki determined the "misconduct has not been limited to a few VA facilities, but many across the country," a situation he called "totally unacceptable."
"Our veterans deserve the best," Mr. Obama said. "They've earned it."
Deputy VA secretary Sloan Gibson will now temporarily lead the department.
Shinseki had faced mounting calls for his resignation since the VA hospital scandal caught fire last month. The majority of early calls for the secretary to step down came from Republicans, but after Wednesday's interim report, the dam began to break among Democrats as well. As of Friday morning, 13 Senate Democrats had called for Shinseki to step down, all but three of them up for reelection in 2014. Several Democratic Senate candidates running in red states have also called for the secretary to resign.
Virginia Senator Mark Warner tweeted:
I honor Gen Shinseki's service & support his decision to go. Now we must focus on fixing VA. Our veterans deserve our best efforts.— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) May 30, 2014