Obama’s VA nominee gains key endorsement

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) on Tuesday endorsed President Obama’s choice of former Proctor & Gamble CEO Robert McDonald to lead the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs.

"Nominee Robert McDonald's experience leading complex organizations will be a plus, since the VA is ultimately in the service industry and needs to be run like a business," said VFW National Commander William A. Thien.

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The influential veterans group said it hoped McDonald would be up to the challenge of transforming an organization with many "internal loyalties" into a place where serving veterans comes first.

The VA is "unlike any organization in the private sector because it's led by political appointees in Washington but managed entirely by federal civilians in the field,” Thien noted.

Senators have not objected to Obama’s choice of McDonald, a West Point graduate, to take over the VA following the resignation of Erik Shinseki, and his confirmation process could move quickly after the July 4 recess.

The nomination of McDonald comes as lawmakers from both chambers are negotiating legislation aimed at reforming the VA and speeding care to veterans who have been kept on secret waiting lists.

Thien said McDonald needs to “do whatever is necessary to restore the faith of veterans in their VA."

"The VA is experiencing a crisis in care and confidence, and whoever is confirmed as its secretary must immediately identify and fix what's broken.” 

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