• VA secretary meets with national veterans groups

    By: Aaron Diamant


    ATLANTA - Embattled Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki just wrapped up a meeting with national veterans groups, some demanding he resign.
    Channel 2 Action News got tipped off about the meeting that happened Thursday afternoon at the VA headquarters in Washington.
    On their way out, veterans group leaders told Channel 2 Action News that amid mounting pressure from the public and from Congress, heads could roll at the VA within 24 hours.
    Channel 2 Action News cameras caught veterans group leaders heading into the closed-door meeting with Shinseki.
    One told Channel 2 Action News that Shinseki was sincere about making immediate changes at the agency.
    "He will be releasing his accountability action as to what action he is going to be taking," said Roscoe Butler, with the American Legion. "He didn't say what the specific actions are."
    The groups are outraged over allegations veterans died while waiting for care at VA hospitals and clinics.
    On Wednesday a scathing preliminary report by the VA's inspector general found vets waiting 115 days to see a doctor at a Phoenix VA hospital, plus 1,700 vets left off official waiting lists.
    "They're taking this very seriously, and they're doing the right things to take the appropriate action necessary to address this systemic issue," Butler said.
    The American Legion is still calling for Shinseki to resign.
    On Capitol Hill, a growing list of lawmakers say Shinseki needs should go. But at his Cobb County office, Sen. Johnny Isakson stopped short.
    "I think Secretary Shinseki is obviously in trouble. He's obviously been failed by his senior management or he has failed," Isakson said.
    Reserving final judgment until he reads the inspector general's final report, Isakson admits, "It's highly unlikely that anybody can survive this kind of scrutiny if they're the captain of the ship."
    So far, dozens of members of Congress have called for Shinseki's resignation. 
    White House spokesman Jay Carney was asked three times Thursday if the president still backs Shinseki. 
    After saying the president feels Shinseki has performed well overall, he said he would not speculate more about personnel matters.

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