Senate panel schedules hearing on Trump VA pick

Senate panel schedules hearing on Trump VA pick
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Support for impeachment inches up in poll Fox News's Bret Baier calls Trump's attacks on media 'a problem' MORE’s nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will get a Senate confirmation hearing next week.

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee will take up the nomination of Robert Wilkie on June 27, the committee announced Wednesday.

Wilkie, who served as acting VA secretary until he stepped down after being nominated for secretary, is a Washington insider with years of administrative experience who has previously worked on Capitol Hill as well as in the Pentagon for two presidents.

Trump formally nominated Wilkie in May to succeed former VA chief David ShulkinDavid Jonathon ShulkinVA under pressure to ease medical marijuana rules Press: Acosta, latest to walk the plank Senior Trump administration official to leave post next week MORE, who was forced out over concerns about his taxpayer-funded travel.

Shulkin contends he was fired because he opposed Trump’s attempts at dramatically expanding veterans’ access to private-sector care.

In a potential boost for Wilkie’s chances, the committee’s ranking member Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterBennet reintroduces bill to ban lawmakers from becoming lobbyists Schumer seeks focus on health care amid impeachment fever Red-state Democrats worry impeachment may spin out of control MORE (D-Mont.), said last month he thinks Wilkie is a “strong choice” to lead the agency.  

"Right now I certainly don't have anything that would cause me not to support him. He's a solid guy," Tester said.

Wilkie’s nomination follows the fall of Trump's previous pick, White House physician Ronny Jackson, who faced questions about his experience and ability to lead the second-largest bureaucracy in the federal government.

Jackson was ultimately forced to withdraw his nomination after allegations — publicly detailed by Tester — surfaced that he mishandled prescription drugs, drank on the job and created a "hostile" work environment.  

Trump has repeatedly blasted Tester over Jackson's decision to withdraw.

Unlike Jackson, Wilkie has gone through an executive vetting process before when he was nominated for Pentagon posts under Trump and former President George W. Bush.