Dem senator: Trump VA pick vows not to privatize vets care

Johnny Isakson
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A key Democratic senator says President Donald Trump’s pick to be Veterans Affairs secretary is promising not to privatize the agency — a stance that his predecessor claims led to his firing.

Sen. Jon Tester, top Democrat on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, met privately with Ronny Jackson.

Tester says Jackson committed to the same stance against privatization as his predecessor David Shulkin, who favored strong continuing investment in core VA programs while expanding access to private doctors.

The confirmation hearing for Jackson, Trump’s White House doctor, is scheduled for next week.

Several Democratic senators including Bernie Sanders of Vermont have vowed to oppose Jackson’s nomination if it leads to greater privatization at the agency.

Tester and Sen. Johnny Isakson, the committee’s Republican chairman, haven’t yet taken positions on Jackson.