Udall, Heinrich call for VA secretary to step down

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – On Thursday, Sen. Tom Udall and Sen. Martin Heinrich issued statements asking Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shineski to step down.

Udall says problems with the VA “are systemic and rooted in a culture that has rewarded cover-ups and cheating to the point of risking the health of our veterans.”

He called for an investigation of the New Mexico VA Hospital and on Thursday he plans to announce his findings from New Mexico veterans and their family members.

In Heinrich’s statement, he said he has respect for Shineski, but feels the nation’s veterans “deserve nothing less than the very best service our nation has to offer. Tragically, that has not always been the case.”

Both statements follow a probe of operations at the Phoenix VA Health Care System found that about 1,700 veterans in need of care were kept off an official waiting list. The investigation, initially focused on the Phoenix hospital, found systemic problems in the VA’s sprawling nationwide system, which provides medical care to about 6.5 million veterans annually.

On Wednesday, Arizona Sen. John McCain also asked for Shineski to step down.

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