Capital Briefs

Obama to nominate Bob McDonald as new VA secretary

President Barack Obama will announce his top nominee choice, Bob McDonald, to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a White House official on Sunday.

The nomination comes in the wake of Eric Shinseki’s resignation in May. Shinseki faced extensive allegations of incompetence over the veteran healthcare system.

McDonald is the former CEO of Proctor & Gamble and graduated from West Point in the top 2 percent of his class. He served in the U.S. Army for five years.

According to MSNBC:

McDonald’s arrival would come at a difficult time for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The agency has been beset by “significant and chronic system failures,” according to a review ordered by President Obama and released Friday. The review confirmed allegations that some VA employees had manipulated wait times for veterans’ medical appointments to make them appear shorter. A previous report by a federal watchdog group found nine examples of substandard practices at the VA, including improper scheduling and falsifying patient records.

The scandal will prove a major challenge for McDonald, who will replace current acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson, if confirmed by the Senate.

A few responses in Washington were cautious.

“The VA needs significantly improved transparency and accountability and it needs an increased number of doctors, nurses and other medical staff so that all eligible veterans get high-quality health care in a timely manner,” Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said in a statement on Sunday. “I look forward to meeting with Mr. McDonald next week in order to ascertain his views on these important issues.”

However, House Speaker John Boehner praised McDonald, calling him a “good man, a veteran, and a strong leader with decades of experience in the private sector.”

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