Members, Congressional Candidates Continue Shinseki Criticism
Public officials are continuing to criticize Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki after allegations have surfaced that a number of veterans have died while waiting for treatment, that officials violated agency rules, and other shocking claims. Speaker of the House John Boehner has said he lacks confidence in Secretary Shinseki and that he is “getting a little closer” to urging for his resignation. At the same time, he also pointed out that the VA has had chronically failed veterans. “This isn’t about the secretary. It’s about the entire system underneath him”, he said. Although the Speaker stopped short of calling for Shinseki’s resignation as of yet, a number of Democratic congressional candidates have already done so. Many of these Democrats are running for seats that Republicans currently control. For instance, Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is trying to oust Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, has called for the secretary to go. Other incumbent Democrats who have criticized Shinseki, like Representative John Barrow of Georgia, are facing credible challenges from Republicans.
Benghazi Committee Begins Work
The House of Representatives Select Committee on Benghazi is getting underway as panel members officially met for the first time yesterday. Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, the Chairman, and Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the Ranking Member, met and each leader also gathered with his own party members separately. They are still in the process of establishing ground rules for the committee. They will also need funding from the House and staffers with security clearances, although Chairman Gowdy has already named a staff director, Phil Kiko. a Hill veteran. Yesterday, Speaker John Boehner said he thought it would be some time before the panel issues any results of their investigations.
Hill Dems Urge Immigration Executive Actions
Earlier this week, some congressional Democrats called upon President Obama to use various Executive actions to change the nation’s immigration policies if the Congress is unable to pass a reform bill soon. Representative Raul Grijalva of Arizona said he thought it was “necessary” that the President act and that “the administration becomes the only relief left”. Another major Democratic supporter of immigration reform, Representative Luis Gutierrez of Illinois suggested that the President would “act in a very bold way” if nothing is done by Labor Day. In the past, Republicans have said they do not trust President Obama to enforce immigration laws and have criticized the notion of using Executive actions to bring about change.
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