Senate to vote Monday on Trump’s VA nominee
The Senate is scheduled to vote next week on President Trump’s pick to the lead the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) teed up a vote on Robert Wilkie’s nomination for 5:30 p.m. on Monday.
Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), the chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said earlier Thursday that the Senate should vote to confirm Wilkie “without delay.”
“It is of utmost importance that any policy changes that impact the future of the department be made by a confirmed VA secretary who can be held accountable by Congress and the American people,” Isakson said.
Presidential physician Ronny Jackson, Trump’s initial pick, withdrew his nomination in April amid allegations of professional misconduct.
Wilkie’s nomination has, by comparison, been fairly low key.
Questions were temporally raised about his nomination when The Washington Post reported that Wilkie has worked throughout his career for polarizing lawmakers and officials, whose controversial views he has defended.
But Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.), the top Democrat on the Senate’s veterans panel, defended Wilkie, saying at the time that the nominee is qualified and a “good guy,” and would wait to see Wilkie’s response to the questions.
“That’s why we’re having a hearing,” Tester said. “He’ll have an opportunity to answer some of those questions. Many of them happened 20 years ago.”
Wilkie defended his stance toward women and minorities during his confirmation hearing, telling lawmakers, “I will stand on my record.”
Wilkie was subsequently approved by the committee in a near-unanimous vote. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) voted against him.
Wilkie previously ran military personnel policy at the Pentagon for the Trump administration before serving as acting VA secretary. He stepped down from acting VA secretary after being nominated for secretary.