GOP chairman: Officials at VA 'need to be fired'

Senior employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should be fired for the major construction projects that are expected to run billions of dollars over budget, Rep. Jeff Miller said Monday.

“Well, they don't deserve their bonuses, and they need to be fired. In fact, I am absolutely shocked that, even if they aren't fired by the secretary of the VA, that they don't just leave,” Miller (R-Fla.), the chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, said Monday during an interview on Fox News’s “Fox and Friends.”

He specifically pointed to the construction of a replacement hospital outside of Denver that the VA now projects will $1.73 billion to build, more than five times the facility’s original $328 million price tag.

“To be a billion dollars over budget on one project, I can't understand why somebody could even walk around the building holding their head up,” Miller said.

His comments come just days after he called on VA Secretary Robert McDonald to fire Glenn Haggstrom, executive director of the VA’s Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction Principal; and Office of Construction and Facilities Management Executive Director Stella Fiotes. 

Miller said that, when the cost of the Denver site is added to similar VA construction efforts in New Orleans, Orlando and Las Vegas, “you’re probably looking at a $3 billion overrun.”

He noted that overhaul bill Congress passed last year gave McDonald new latitude to fire top executives for poor job performance.

"This is where the secretary needs to walk in the door of Glenn Haggstrom and Stella Fiotes, and say, 'You're gone.' "

Miller also accused President Obama of not doing enough to revamp the beleaguered agency, roughly one year after the scandal over patient wait times and falsified data.

“I don't even know where he thinks the VA is right now,” Miller said.