Friday, October 31, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Obama nominee McDonald pledges to ‘transform’ VA

By
From page A12 | July 23, 2014 |

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs pledged Tuesday to transform the beleaguered agency, saying that “systematic failures” must be addressed.

Robert McDonald cited problems with patient access to health care, transparency, accountability and integrity, among other issues.

“The seriousness of the moment demands urgent action,” McDonald told the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “The VA is in crisis. The veterans are in need. There is a lot of work to do to transform the department and it will not be easy, but it is essential and can be achieved.”

McDonald, 61, a former Procter & Gamble CEO and an Army veteran, said taking care of veterans is personal for him. His father served in the Army Air Corps after World War II, and his wife’s father was shot down over Europe and survived harsh treatment as a prisoner of war. Another relative was exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam and receives care from the VA, McDonald said, and a nephew is in the Air Force, deployed in the Middle East.

If confirmed by the Senate, McDonald said he would take a series of actions over his first 90 days “to deliver the needed reforms our veterans deserve.”

He said he plans to lay out a veteran-centered vision for the department and improve communication within the vast agency, which includes more than 300,000 employees in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. His plan includes frequent video conferences with employees and extensive travel to field offices around the country, he said.

No opposition surfaced during the 2 ½-hour hearing, and senators from both parties said McDonald appeared headed to easy confirmation.

“I believe, based on what I heard, you are going to be confirmed, and I hope that is the case,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., the chairman of the Senate veterans panel, told McDonald as the hearing ended.

The Senate panel will vote Wednesday on McDonald’s nomination, Sanders said, with a vote by the full Senate likely before the August recess.

Republican Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas was among a host of Republicans to declare support for McDonald, a Republican who supported GOP nominee Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election.

Moran was the first senator to call for Eric Shinseki to step down as VA secretary this spring. Shinseki resigned May 30 amid a growing uproar over treatment delays and falsified records at VA hospitals and clinics nationwide, including reports that dozens died awaiting treatment.

The VA’s acting inspector general has confirmed investigations of possible wrongdoing at 87 VA medical facilities nationwide.

Moran, who met with McDonald last week, said he was impressed by the nominee’s “candor, sincerity and commitment to serving” veterans. “The VA bureaucracy must be dismantled and Mr. McDonald is focused and ready to take on the many challenges that lie ahead,” Moran said.

Sanders also said he was impressed with McDonald.

“I believe that his years of military service will make him a very strong advocate for veterans, and that his corporate leadership gives him the experience to bring about the management changes — in terms of accountability and transparency — that the VA needs,” Sanders said.

The path for a bill to reform the VA is decidedly rockier.

The Senate approved a bill last month authorizing $35 billion through 2016 to build new clinics, hire doctors and make it easier for veterans who can’t get prompt appointments with VA doctors to get outside care. The measure closely tracks a bill passed by the House, but lawmakers have balked at the Senate measure’s price tag.

Congressional budget analysts project it could end up costing the government about $38 billion a year — almost as much as the $44 billion the government now spends annually on medical care for veterans.

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid assailed his Republican colleagues, saying they appeared unwilling to spend the money needed to address a VA crisis involving prolonged treatment delays and falsified appointment records to cover up long wait times.

Reid said Monday that efforts to pass a bill appeared likely to “come back to nothing.” On Tuesday he was more optimistic, citing work by Sanders and other senators

Asked if a Senate vote on the bill was likely before the August recess, Reid said, “I sure hope so.”

Sanders said he and House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., were working hard to reach an agreement.

“Given the ideological differences between the House and the Senate, these are very tough negotiations, but I still hope and believe that we can come to an agreement” before Congress adjourns early next month, Sanders said.

Miller has said a temporary infusion of cash is needed to fix the VA’s problems over the next two years, but a long-term solution requires a fundamental change in the way the department operates.

He said late Monday he was confident a deal is within reach if the two sides “remain focused on the issues that are within the scope” of the House and Senate-passed VA reform measures.

 

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Dad finds passion creating set pieces for son’s shows

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Real estate agent pens, produces movie

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Neighborhood candy hunts of the past

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Candy from sky highlights North Texas Street event

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Vintage Fair on tap at McBride Senior Center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Oct. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Judge approves Stockton’s bankruptcy plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
California eyes $500 billion in water spending

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Marine wants new charges in Iraq war crime tossed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
Roseville officer accused of criminal threats

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

Poll: Democrats leading in all statewide races

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Man charged with murder in SWAT officer shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Teen arrested in threat at Sacramento school

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Police make arrest in slaying of Oakland mom

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Retrial in assault case over stray cat feeding

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Missing California hunter roasted bugs, lizards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Pilot identified in California jet crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Lawsuit: Surgical gowns let diseases pass through

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Fearing Ebola? Doctors say get a flu shot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Questions, answers about California’s Ebola policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Maine in standoff with nurse over Ebola safeguards

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Relatives suspected poisoning in family’s deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Pair convicted in secret $1.6 M Navy silencer deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Guard troops sent to site of Hawaii lava flow

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Terminally ill woman may postpone taking her life

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Man’s own dog helps police bust him on drug charge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Vatican admits Sistine Chapel frescoes ‘whitened’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Israel closes Jerusalem holy site after shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Fearing uprising, Iraq militants hunt ex-police

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Death penalty sought for trooper ambush suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Man’s prosecution unwarranted

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
Are we safe now?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 14 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoons: Oct. 31, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Brown’s moderate stance resonates with voters

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

 
 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Oct. 31, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

My husband sends texts filled with ‘dirty talk’ to an old flame

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 31, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview Oct. 31-Nov. 6, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Jorge Garcia makes the most of ‘Hawaii Five-O’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Monica Potter wants to save her show ‘Parenthood’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Review: Jake Gyllenhaal, tightly coiled and creepy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Exhibit on Paul Simon’s life to debut at Rock Hall

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
PBS touts 2013-14 ratings growth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Reality TV show ‘Big Brother’ to debut in China

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
‘The View’ now under ABC News as further revamping

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Review: ‘Sleep’ a decidedly average psych thriller

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Entertainment calendar Oct. 31, 2014

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B4

Winter’s wife has blues listening to his new album

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Galway Kinnell dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

 
 
Benicia fends off Vanden, 35-21

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B7 | Gallery

New dynasty: Giants capture 3rd title in 5 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Bye week helps 49ers Vernon Davis’ recovery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Sonoma Raceway to host IndyCar Series finale in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Warriors exercise options on Barnes, Ezeli

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Mack making impact for Raiders even without sacks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for Friday, Oct. 31, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Prep football capsules: Week 9

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

.

Business

Not so sweet: Chocolate prices are set to rise

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
Apple CEO publicly acknowledges that he’s gay

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment | Gallery

FTC accuses Gerber of false claim on baby formula

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Oscar Lee Vezeau

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Robert Louis Wright

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9