By Rebecca Shabad - 05/21/14 12:14 PM EDT
Republican lawmakers on Wednesday immediately dismissed President Obama’s remarks on the controversy surrounding veterans hospitals, arguing his response was too little, too late.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called Obama’s remarks “wholly insufficient” in addressing the agency’s systemic problems.
“We need answers, leadership and accountability, none of which we’ve seen from the Obama administration to date,” McCain said in a statement.
The administration, he said, has had an “ineffectual” response to allegations of wrongdoing at VA facilities.
In remarks from the White House briefing room, Obama promised he would punish any misconduct at the agency.
"If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it," Obama said following a meeting with Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and Obama’s deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors. Obama assigned Nabors to oversee the VA probe.
A number of Republicans expressed similar reactions to McCain’s on Twitter.
Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) said the president said nothing new.
Pres Obama is saying nothing new. Veterans deserve accountability today not when investigations can be swept under the rug.— Rep. Andy Harris, MD (@RepAndyHarrisMD) May 21, 2014
Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) suggested Obama should have demanded Shinseki’s resignation.
By not demanding VA Sec Shinseki resignation today, Pres Obama is not listening to nation’s vets who want leadership from Commander-in-Chief— Frank LoBiondo (@RepLoBiondo) May 21, 2014
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, issued a series of critical tweets.
Pres says will not tolerate misconduct...but has for 7 years #WeNeedSolutionsForVets— Cong. Tim Huelskamp (@CongHuelskamp) May 21, 2014
Slashed backlog in half...that's a lie because they cooked the books #LiesYouTell— Cong. Tim Huelskamp (@CongHuelskamp) May 21, 2014
Blah Blah Blah…when will Pres actually step up to leadership plate? #WeNeedSolutionsForVets— Cong. Tim Huelskamp (@CongHuelskamp) May 21, 2014
Huelskamp also questioned why Shinseki did not appear at the press conference.
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) tweeted that Obama does “a terrible job” running government.
For someone like @BarackObama who loves big gov't & views it as the solution to all our problems, he sure does a terrible job running it...— Rep. Jeff Duncan (@RepJeffDuncan) May 21, 2014
Another GOP lawmaker, Rep. Paul Cook (Calif.), dismissed Obama’s remarks as “rhetoric.” Cook also serves on the House Veterans' Affairs Committee.
#Veterans have been on wait lists long enough. It’s time for action not rhetoric Mr. President.— Rep. Paul Cook (@RepPaulCook) May 21, 2014
Obama said he expects to review initial results of an investigation into the allegations next week. He said full results will be released in June.