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Coats, Donnelly Hold Off On Calling For Shinseki's Job

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Terry Ross
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https://www.flickr.com/photos/qnr/3336138633

Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Dan Coats (R-IN) aren’t yet joining the ranks of those calling on Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign. 

Controversy has swirled around the Veterans Affairs head for weeks amid allegations that VA hospitals around the country manipulated wait lists, leading to treatment delays and even patient deaths. 

A report released Wednesday by the VA Inspector General described inappropriate scheduling practices as systemic throughout the VA, prompting more calls for Shinseki to resign.  It’s also led the American Legion – one of the only major veterans groups calling for Shinseki’s dismissal – to call for a criminal investigation into hospitals found to have manipulated wait times. 

Donnelly says he’s waiting for the full results of the VA investigation before making any decisions on Shinseki.

“But if things have gone wrong, and if there’s responsibilities that have been missed that he is responsible for, then obviously he needs to take responsibility for that,” Donnelly says.

Coats says forcing Shinseki to resign engages in the wrong discussion – he says the problems at the VA clearly go deeper than top leadership.

“I just don’t want people walking away, saying ‘Ok, we fired the top guy or we threw some more money at the problem and everything’s fine – what’s the next issue,’” Coats says.

Coats says Congress should examine whether the VA is ill-equipped to provide adequate care to the country’s veterans and whether private healthcare options should be explored. 

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.
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