High marks for acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson

 

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) on Monday said acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson is “doing a great job.”

On CNN’s “New Day,” Miller first said President Obama should appoint Gibson’s permanent successor from outside the VA but suggested Gibson could get the job done.

“Sloan Gibson is doing a great job right now as the interim,” Miller said. “He’s only been in the job for about a week. He’s only been at the VA for about 3 months. He has the capability and certainly has the attitude to get in and reshape this culture within the system.”

Obama tapped Gibson as the agency’s interim secretary following Eric Shinseki’s resignation on May 30. 

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Miller said Toby Cosgrove, head of the Cleveland Clinic, would have been a "great choice." Cosgrove, however, withdrew his name from consideration on Saturday.

Asked if the House could shoot down the Senate’s bill to fix the VA, Miller said, “I don’t think the House will shoot anything down.”

The bill Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) reached a compromise on last week encompasses legislation the House has been sitting on for months, said Miller, who consulted with the senators. 

“We’re not trying to take VA and strip it down. There are a lot of things they can do very, very well,” Miller said.

Miller had waited before joining the call for Shinseki’s resignation. He was asked on CNN if Shinseki is a scapegoat.

“There’s enough blame to go around on this story. I wish I knew what the trigger was that got the media so involved because we’ve been trying for a number of years to get the media to pay attention to preventable deaths,” he said. “I hope you won’t quit because this is a very important story.”

VA officials are set to testify before Miller’s panel on Monday evening to review a Government Accountability Office report on the agency, an inspector general's report and the VA’s nationwide audit to be released Monday.