McKeon calls on Shinseki to step down

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee added his name to the growing list of lawmakers calling for Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to step down on Wednesday. 

"It would be best if General Shinseki stepped down as Secretary, both as an example for other VA leaders and to lay the groundwork for new leadership to meet with success," Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) said in a statement. 

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The calls for Shinseki's resignation came after the VA’s inspector general issued its interim report looking into allegations that a Phoenix VA clinic kept some new patients on unofficial wait lists to hide long delays for primary care appointments. 

The report substantiated those allegations, saying that veterans placed on an unofficial wait list waited an average of 115 days before their initial appointment while official records claimed a wait time of only 24 days. 

The inspector general cautioned that the investigation was wasn't complete, but the report confirmed "that inappropriate scheduling practices are systemic" throughout the Veterans Health Administration. 

"General Shinseki has given his life to serving this country and for that, we are in his debt,” McKeon wrote on Wednesday. “However, the problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs have grown beyond what this nation can bear.

"I believe America’s veterans would be best served with a fresh set of eyes on the VA system. Only new innovations and aggressive reform can get the problems at the VA under control," he added. 

McKeon's joins two other powerful voices calling for Shinseki to step down, including House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war.

On Wednesday, Sen. Mark Udall (Colo.) also became the first Democratic senator to call for Shinseki to go.