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by
Bridget Johnson

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May 30, 2014 - 4:26 pm

The chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee said Secretary Eric Shinseki, who stepped down today, was “betrayed by people, as he indicated, who were not honest to him.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who was not among the lawmakers calling for Shinseki to resign, said he was “saddened” by the departure of “a true American hero.”

“And that’s not just the purple hearts that he won in battle or his role as Army chief of staff. This is a guy back in 2003 that did something unprecedented in modern history. He told Don Rumsfeld, secretary of Defense at that time, in his rush to war, that occupying Iraq was not be all that easy. You would need more troops. So, this is a guy that has an enormous amounts of guts. He’s a well-respected military leader,” Sanders said.

He added that Shinseki didn’t get due credit for guiding the VA from a system of processing claims by paper to processing them electronically.

“Clearly, right now, short term, we’ve got to make sure that every veteran on a waiting list gets healthcare as quickly as possible,” the chairman said.

Sanders said he would have preferred something other than President Obama accepting Shinseki’s resignation.

“I think this guy is a very gutsy guy who, I think, wanted the opportunity to clean house and make the changes that he now understood was necessary. But I can understand — you know, one of the things that’s going on, and I hope we can end this, there is a lot of politicization going on right now,” he said.

“The Koch Brothers and Republicans are running ads all over this country on this issue. I think that that’s unfortunate. I would hope that everybody can focus on how do we make sure that every veteran in this country gets the quality healthcare that he or she needs and does it in a timely manner.”

Sanders even suggested that the congressional Democrats who called for Shinseki to step down, not just the moderates in the upper chamber but senators such as Al Franken (D-Minn.), were influenced by the Koch Bros.

At the time of Shinseki’s resignation this morning, 10 Democratic senators and 27 House members were on the record calling for the VA secretary to go.

“You know, some of them are responding to ads that are on television. And some of them feel that way and I understand that. I just don’t agree,” Sanders said.

“But be that as it may, my job now, as chairman of the committee, is to work with the committee and the Senate to make sure that we introduce legislation, that we work with the new V.A. leadership to provide the best quality healthcare to all our veterans in a timely manner.”

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.
Top Rated Comments   
Keep in mind that Sanders is the one who blocked the bill that received strong bipartisan support in the house to give Shinseki power to fire the people responsible for the problems at the VA (unions, who are #1 in donations, opposed the bill) and his response to the scandal was "people die everyday".
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
It appears Reid's psychosis is contagious.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Discounting, of course, that they're all of 59th down on the list of Major political donors, and almost all of the others (which include numerous Unions) donate almost exclusively Democrat. Pretty good, 59th, but having such an impact.

These Liberals suffer from Koch envy.

/Snark
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (31)
All Comments   (31)
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Now that we've heard from the bitter old commie we can move on.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Most sap in Vermont runs annually. This one runs every six years.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
having guts and serving in the military with honor, doesn't mean you can run the VA, and to cross reference the two, is like comparing an orange to a man eating tiger.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
I wonder what that malicious old fool's vested interest is? He has some evil purpose in defending Shinseki.

Sanders, that evil commie bast*rd, always pretends to be so high-minded and public-spirited. He's a true commie hero, protecting "the people" or "the masses." But in reality he's a complete manipulative, grasping self-seeker.

So you can bet he has some selfish purpose in his witless extenuations of Shinsucker.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
One has to admire the Kochs for staying on the high road. They have ample reasons to sue the crap out of these idiotic pols in Congress who slander them regularly, particularly that hideous Harry Reid.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Can't sue a legislator for any comments made in his/her official position. Thus, no one suing Reid into bankruptcy for his many libelous statements.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
believe that is not so. The only place that a congressman can be exempt from slander is speaking on the floor of congress
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Source of that info please.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place. U.S. Const. art. I, sec. 7
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Koch Brothers, is there anything they can't do?
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sanders is part of the problem, the people that elected him need to vote him out. Its always we need new legislation. How about having some integrity and honesty for once.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bernie Sanders hates veterans and wants them to die.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
To: Bernie Sanders
From Kent Ramsay

I think you were influenced by Karl Marx and Pee Wee Herman.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
please don't even think to compare the evil of Karl Marx with Pee Wee Herman.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
I didn't. I said Bernie Sanders was influenced mainly by these two stellar individuals.
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
Keep in mind that Sanders is the one who blocked the bill that received strong bipartisan support in the house to give Shinseki power to fire the people responsible for the problems at the VA (unions, who are #1 in donations, opposed the bill) and his response to the scandal was "people die everyday".
7 weeks ago
7 weeks ago Link To Comment
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