AT MEETING WITH VA SECRETARY NOMINEE, SHAHEEN PRESSES FOR REFORMS TO ADDRESS MISMANAGEMENT SCANDAL

July 21, 2014

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today met with Robert McDonald, the President’s nominee to serve as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), where she reiterated her call for sweeping reforms at the VA in order to address the recent mismanagement scandal. Shaheen also discussed with McDonald her desire to address the ongoing claims backlog and inequities many New Hampshire veterans face in seeking care.

“We have a responsibility to take care of our veterans and the VA has not been living up to this obligation,” Shaheen said. “I believe Mr. McDonald’s leadership background and management skills as a former CEO will translate well into reforming the corrosive problems at the VA. I am eager to work with him on fixing the serious problems veterans in New Hampshire and across the country have faced.”

Shaheen continued, “A change in leadership is an important step in the process of reforming the VA. Congress needs to finalize the bipartisan legislation the Senate passed last month to expand access to health care for our nation’s veterans and address the serious mismanagement issues we’ve seen. Our veterans deserve better and we should not make them wait.”

Throughout her career in the Senate, Shaheen has worked to make care more accessible for New Hampshire veterans and improve the VA, specifically with respect to the backlog. She has been a strong supporter of the Sanders-McCain legislation, which contains several of her provisions to expand health care access for veterans in New Hampshire, and recently announced the approval of two VA health care sites in New Hampshire’s North Country and many provisions from her Veterans Access to Care Accountability Act were included in the Sanders-McCain bill. Earlier this year she also introduced two pieces of legislation to bolster job and economic opportunities for the nation’s veterans, and she has also been a lead proponent of encouraging veterans legal clinics to provide veterans with basic legal services to help reduce the claims backlog.