Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders said on Wednesday that he will set a confirmation hearing soon on President Barack Obama’s nomination of Robert McDonald to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. Sanders also announced on Wednesday that the committee will hold a hearing next week to hear from the acting VA secretary, Sloan Gibson, about steps the VA has taken to provide health care to those on long waiting lists and to improve accountability and transparency.
Sanders and McDonald met for about one hour on Tuesday. “I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with Mr. McDonald and was impressed by what he brings to the table. I believe that his years of military service will make him a very strong advocate for veterans, and that his corporate leadership gives him the experience to bring about the management changes – in terms of accountability and transparency – that the VA needs. I also believe that he understands that if the VA is going to provide quality and timely health care for all eligible veterans, the department needs to have enough doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to meet our veterans’ needs. I look forward to holding a confirmation hearing as soon as possible.
Sanders also announced a hearing next Wednesday. “We look forward to hearing from Acting Secretary Gibson about progress he is making in addressing the many serious problems facing the VA,” Sanders said. “How has accountability and transparency been improved. How has he dealt with those who falsified records and manipulated data? How many veterans who were on long waiting lists have now been provided health care? What are Mr. Gibson’s projections about the needs of the VA in terms of more doctors, nurses and medical personnel to eliminate permanently the unacceptably long waiting times?”