Hearing set for Obama's nominee to lead VA

The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee next Tuesday will hold a confirmation hearing for President Obama’s nominee to run the scandal-ridden Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

ADVERTISEMENT

Timing for panel and full Senate votes on Robert McDonald’s nomination depend “on how much time the Republicans make us eat, but the intention is to get it done in time before the August recess,” according to a committee source.

The Senate has three more weeks before it leaves Washington for the recess. The July 22 hearing would give them just over a week to confirm McDonald and get his nomination to the floor.

The confirmation hearing will take place at 2 p.m. Committee members were notified of the pending hearing earlier Tuesday afternoon, the source added.

“At a time when we have unacceptably long waiting times for VA health care and when some 500,000 veterans have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury, it is absolutely imperative that the VA move to provide quality care in a timely manner to all of our veterans,” Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden wins Hawaii primary Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden Julián Castro to become senior advisor for Voto Latino MORE (I-Vt.), the panel’s chairman, said in a statement. “We also must move aggressively to further reduce the claims backlog and veterans homelessness. I look forward to the hearing with Mr. McDonald and hope that his confirmation will give the VA the long-term leadership that it needs.”

Sanders said earlier Tuesday morning that he wanted to take up the nomination quickly because “it’s important that the VA has a permanent secretary as soon as possible.”

Sanders, who met with McDonald on July 8, has not voiced any reservations about the nomination.

The White House tapped McDonald, an Army veteran and retired Procter & Gamble chief executive, at the end of June. McDonald has been well-received by lawmakers in both parties.

Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump taking malaria drug; mayor eyes DC reopening Rubio to lead Senate Intel Committee amid Burr investigation Senate Intel Committee to vote Tuesday on Ratcliffe's DNI nomination MORE (R-N.C.), the ranking Republican on the panel, said he was “ready to take up his nomination and move it and certainly don’t see anything that should stand in its way.”

Burr is due to meet McDonald on Thursday.

McDonald would succeed former VA Secretary Eric ShinsekiEric Ken ShinsekiVA might not be able to end veteran homelessness, but we shouldn't stop trying Bill HR 2333 is a good step to helping curb veteran suicide  Senate confirms Trump's VA pick despite opposition from some Dems MORE, who resigned after investigations found the department had covered up long waits that veterans endured to receive care from the VA.

Obama tapped Sloan Gibson, who joined the agency three months earlier as Shinseki's deputy, to run the department until a permanent replacement is found.

In addition to meeting with panel members, McDonald has sat down with Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanCongress headed toward unemployment showdown McConnell gives two vulnerable senators a boost with vote on outdoor recreation bill Fight emerges over unemployment benefits in next relief bill MORE (R-Ohio), who represents his home state, as well as several lawmakers who represent large veteran populations, including Sens. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetCongress headed toward unemployment showdown Fight emerges over unemployment benefits in next relief bill Job losses approach Depression territory as election looms MORE (D-Colo.), Tim JohnsonTimothy (Tim) Peter JohnsonCornell to launch new bipartisan publication led by former Rep. Steve Israel Trump faces tough path to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac overhaul Several hurt when truck runs into minimum wage protesters in Michigan MORE (D-S.D.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate confirms Ratcliffe to be Trump's spy chief Abrams announces endorsements in 7 Senate races Schumer dubs GOP 'conspiracy caucus' amid Obama-era probes MORE (R-S.C.).

He has also met with Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' Senate Democrats call on Trump administration to let Planned Parenthood centers keep PPP loans States, companies set up their own COVID-19 legal shields MORE (N.Y.), the chamber's No. 3 Democrat.