Democrats Smith, Kilmer call for Shinseki's resignation as pressure mounts on VA secretary

Staff writerMay 29, 2014 

U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (center) discusses the impacts of ocean acidification on shellfish with Lissa James of Hama Hama Co. and Northern Fish president John Swanes during a visit to the Tacoma-based fish company on May 13.

LUI KIT WONG — The News Tribune / file photo

U.S. Reps. Derek Kilmer and Adam Smith on Thursday joined the chorus of lawmakers calling for Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki to resign amid reports that VA staffers in several states falsified records on patient wait times to hide delays in care.

"Fixing these problems starts with accountability," Smith, a Bellevue Democrat, said in a statement. "That requires a change in leadership at the Department of Veterans Affairs."

So far, most of the calls for Shinseki's resignation have come from Republicans taking aim at President Barack Obama's appointee.

Both Kilmer and Smith cited the release this week of an Inspector General report confirming allegations that VA staffers in Phoenix misreported patient wait times as key to their decisions to break with the Obama administration on Shinseki.

"While Secretary Shinseki is a dedicated veteran who has served our country honorably, these systemic troubles at the VA call for a change in leadership from the top on down," Kilmer, a Gig Harbor Democrat, said in a written statement.

U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina, also has called for Shinseki’s resignation.

Kilmer represents a veteran-heavy district that includes Naval Base Kitsap. Smith is the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee.

The News Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service