White House

Republican Senators scold Obama for VA wait-times

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during a debate with Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., at the University of Central Florida, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, in Orlando, Fla.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., speaks during a debate with Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., at the University of Central Florida, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, in Orlando, Fla. AP

A group of Republican senators scolded the Obama administration for its handling of a military veterans’ wait-time scandal.

Six months ago, the watchdog for the Department of Veterans Affairs reported manipulation of records to hide long wait times across the country at department medical facilities. The scathing conclusions by the inspector general followed multiple media reports that documented that the department’s supervisors ordered employees to falsify patient wait times in at least seven states, including Florida, California, Texas, North Carolina and Georgia.

Fourteen Republican senators, ranging from Ted Cruz of Texas to Marco Rubio of Florida, wrote Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald to complain about the lack of accountability since the scandal broke.

In their letter, the senators assert the administration has repeatedly given employees who were responsible for the manipulation “the opportunity to quit, retire, or find new jobs without consequences.”

When questioned about the administration’s response, President Barack Obama said a “whole bunch” of employees had been fired, but news accounts belie that.

The public affairs office for the Department of Veterans Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Marisa Taylor: 202-383-6164, @marisaataylor

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