HOUSTON, Texas–President Barrack Obama accepted the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki on Friday and named Deputy Secretary Sloan D. Gibson as acting Secretary. The rare display of accountability leaves veterans and citizens across America wondering what is next for our wounded and otherwise injured veterans who are caught up in the bureaucratic delays and possible criminal behavior of some VA administrators.
Texas is in the middle of this scandal with at least three Texas VA facilities deeply involved in what one whistleblower said resembles a “crime syndicate.” Breitbart Texas reached out to three members of the Texas Congressional Delegation who have been following this matter closely.
Houston area Congressman John Culberson (R-TX) spoke directly with Acting Secretary Gibson shortly after his appointment on Friday. “I am encouraged,” Culberson told Breitbart Texas, “that his top priority is to get every veteran who’s been waiting in to see a doctor immediately–whether it’s at the VA or a private hospital. He’s determined to fix the scheduling system, hold people accountable, and bring private-sector rigor to the VA. That’s a step in the right direction.”
“Secretary Shinseki’s resignation does not mean that the problems at the VA are fixed”, Culberson said in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “Congress must do all we can to make sure that our veterans don’t have to fight to get access to the care and benefits that they have earned.”
“I am calling on Acting Secretary Gibson to immediately review all waiting lists at each VA healthcare facility and use all resources and authority at his disposal–including increased use of non-VA care–to ensure that all veterans on these lists receive care within the next 30 days. This care should be prioritized based on the seriousness of the veteran’s medical condition, so that veterans with urgent medical needs are seen immediately.”
South Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-TX) serves on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Responding to an inquiry from Breitbart Texas, Farenthold said, “VA Secretary Shinseki’s resignation was the right thing for him to do. I appreciate that the leader of the VA is taking responsibility for the agency’s failure to provide veterans the treatment they deserve.”
“While this is a positive first step towards ending a culture of disregard and the many problems plaguing the VA,” Farenthold continued, “it cannot stop here. We must work to ensure that all veterans get quality care in a timely manner. It is the least we can do for those who answered the call to serve.”
Houston Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), who serves on the House Judiciary Committee, in an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas on May 30th said, “The more we learn, the worse it gets, and now it spreads to twenty-seven different facilities in the United States. The whistleblower in one of the facilities calls this a ‘criminal syndicate,’ and I think he lays out the argument pretty well.”
Poe responded to Friday’s resignation in an email to Breitbart Texas, “The VA needs a shake up from top to bottom. Secretary Shinseki’s resignation was just the start, it should not end there.”
“It is time to freeze all bonuses at the VA,” Poe concluded, “until we find out who the liars and cheats are that are responsible for veterans dying in line”
Bob Price is a staff writer and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.