First Senate Dems Call on Shinseki to Go

by Andrew Johnson

A new inspector general report finding more than 1,700 veterans were placed on fake waiting lists at an Arizona hospital has triggered the first two Democratic senators to demand that Department of Veterans Affairs secretary Eric Shinseki resign.

On Wednesday, Senators Mark Udall of Colorado and John Walsh of Montana called on Shinseki to go. Udall said that Shinseki “must step down” in a statement, while Walsh released his own statement calling on President Obama “to remove Secretary Shinseki from office.”

While other Democratic candidates this cycle have called for Shinseki’s ouster — such as Kentucky’s Alison Lundergan Grimes​, Georgia’s Michelle Nunn, and West Virginia’s Natalie Tennant — Udall and Walsh became the first incumbents to do so in light of challenging reelection campaigns against their respective Republican challengers, Representatives Cory Gardner and Steve Daines.

Last week in the House, Democratic Georgia representatives John Barrow and David Scott also said Shinseki should go.

The review has prompted Republican lawmakers to also join the growing chorus of Shinseki’s critics, including Senator John McCain (R., Ariz.) and House Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman Jeff Miller (R., Fla.).

UPDATE: North Carolina Democrat Kay Hagan, who is seen as one of the more vulnerable incumbents this cycle, has called on Shinseki to go as well.

“Secretary Shinseki has served our country honorably over many decades, but in the interest of regaining the trust of our veterans, and implementing real and lasting reforms, I believe it is time for him to step aside and allow new leadership to take the helm at the VA to correct these failings immediately,” she said in a statement.