By Kate Tummarello - 05/18/14 11:52 AM EDT
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) is calling on Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign after reports that waitlists at VA facilities have resulted in the death of veterans.
“This has gone from an incompetence and a backlog, to something criminal,” Kinzinger, a pilot in the Air National guard and veteran of the Iraq War, said during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
“I think its time for Shinseki to resign,” he said.
Kinzinger called on President Obama to replace Shinseki with someone “who can fix the problem.”
Obama should “make a leadership decision, put somebody in there,” he said, pointing to personnel changes at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center after The Washington Post’s 2007 reports on neglect at the facility.
“That can be done in the VA, and it needs to [be done] now,” Kinzinger said.
He also touted his bill, which seeks to reduce backlogs at VA facilities by allowing veterans who live far from a VA facility to visit doctors who are located closer to their homes.
“That’s a good way to get rid of a year-long backlog,” he said. “Let them go to their doctor and bill the VA for it.”