Walz backs subpoena of VA secretary over 'secret waiting list'
May 8, 2014 — 3:10pm
The U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee, including Democratic Rep. Tim Walz, voted today to subpoena VA Secretary Eric Shinseki over allegations of widespread misconduct at a Phoenix medical center that may have led to the deaths of up to 40 veterans.
The Shinseki subpoena will cover e-mails that allegedly discussed the destruction of a 'secret waiting list' of veterans who died while waiting for care at the hospital.
“The allegations coming out of the Phoenix VA are extremely troubling and, while the independent Inspector General is conducting their own investigation, it’s important for Congress to continue to provide oversight as well,” Walz said in a statement.
Committee chairman, Republican Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida, said the panel tried to contact VA brass numerous times, requesting copies of correspondence related to wait times at the Phoenix hospital.
“The subpoena was necessary because the previous response from VA was not sufficient for the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee to conduct proper oversight,” said Walz, a veteran of the Army National Guard.
On Monday, Concerned Veterans for America, a group led by former Minnesota U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hegseth, called for Shinseki's resignation.
Shinseki has said that he will not resign over the allegations.
Amid reports that Donald Trump was in danger of not getting on Minnesota's presidential ballot, the Trump campaign says everything is in order and voters will have a chance to cast their ballot for him in November.
The Department of Veterans Affairs will no longer use its authority to fire senior executives in an expedited manner — dropping a key portion of a law Congress passed two years ago in response to a nationwide scandal over long wait times for veterans seeking medical care.
While it took nearly three decades for the U.S. government to eventually link Agent Orange, the defoliant used in Vietnam, to cancer, President Obama has pledged quick action to make determinations about the effect of the burn pits on perhaps as many as 60,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
U.S. Sen. Al Franken and U.S. Reps. Tim Walz and Collin Peterson are among a growing number of Democratic lawmakers calling for Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign after an inspector general's report that found "systemic" problems at VA medical facilities.