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Confirmation hearing set for new VA chief

Video screen grab shows President Barack Obama as he announces the nomination of Robert McDonald as the new VA Secretary on June 30, 2014 at the White House in Washington.

WASHINGTON — The Senate will hold a committee confirmation hearing Tuesday on the Obama administration pick as the new secretary of the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs.

Former Procter & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald will appear before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee to face questions on how he might fix the deeply dysfunctional federal agency in charge of providing health care and benefits for millions of veterans, according to committee staff.

The VA has been rocked by a stream of scandals and damaging audits that caused former Secretary Eric Shinseki to step down in May and the resignation of other top officials. Federal investigators and Congress has charged the VA with a culture of corruption and irresponsibility that led to widespread records manipulation, long and potentially deadly delays in veteran treatment, and abuses of the employee bonus system.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the committee chairman, said a new VA secretary should be named as soon as possible to deal with unacceptably long way patient times as hundreds of thousands of new veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan enter the system.

A committee hearing is typically a precursor to a vote in the full Senate for presidential nominees. Senators have until the end of the month to hold the final confirmation vote on McDonald before leaving for a monthlong recess in August.

news@stripes.com
 

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