Senate panel heading toward June hearing for Trump's next VA pick

Senate panel heading toward June hearing for Trump's next VA pick
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Sen. Johnny IsaksonJohn (Johnny) Hardy IsaksonOvernight Defense: Trump inviting Putin to DC | Senate to vote Monday on VA pick | Graham open to US-Russia military coordination in Syria Senate to vote Monday on Trump's VA nominee GOP senators introduce resolution endorsing ICE MORE (R-Ga.), the chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, signaled on Tuesday that his panel will take up acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie's nomination to lead the department next month. 

"For all of your information, Jon and I have talked, I intend to move to have a committee meeting when we come back from the Memorial Day break as soon as I can," Isakson told reporters at a press conference, referring to committee ranking member Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterOvernight Defense: Trump inviting Putin to DC | Senate to vote Monday on VA pick | Graham open to US-Russia military coordination in Syria Senate to vote Monday on Trump's VA nominee On The Money: Trump rips Fed over rate hikes | Dems fume as consumer agency pick refuses to discuss border policy | Senate panel clears Trump IRS nominee MORE (D-Mont.). 

The Senate is expected to leave town by Friday for a weeklong break and return to Washington in early June.

Trump late last week formally nominated Wilkie to succeed former VA chief David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinTrump loyalists purge VA of longtime staffers who don’t support agenda: report Poll: Majority in some GOP districts say Republicans 'more corrupt' than Dems On paper, Wilkie is the perfect candidate for VA secretary, but his qualifications go further MORE, who was forced out over concerns about his taxpayer-funded travel.

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Movement on Wilkie's nomination comes after Trump's previous pick, White House physician Ronny Jackson, withdrew his nomination amid allegations that he mishandled prescription drugs, drank on the job and created a "hostile" work environment while serving as physician to the president, a position he no longer holds.

Trump has repeatedly blasted Tester over Jackson's decision to withdraw.

Tester's office released a list of the allegations against Jackson, and Tester did a media blitz where he talked about the claims. 

In a potential boost to Wilkie's chances, Tester signaled he wasn't yet ready to make a decision but that he was a "strong choice."

"Right now I certainly don't have anything that would cause me not to support him. He's a solid guy," Tester said.