Tuesday, September 16, 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

 
Police enlist help to find armed bandit

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4, 11 Comments | Gallery

 
Chamber PAC draws candidates to Jelly Belly

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
 
Weather for Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

Coastal Cleanup Day targets local waterways

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Drama reigns supreme with week’s film debuts

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Judge questions juror in Calkins case

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

Suisun City slaying suspect case moves forward

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Touro University to host Zombie Run/Walk

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Land trust organizes Rockville Trails Preserve hike

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
.

US / World

6 killed, 15 wounded in east Ukraine city

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Afghan suicide bomber kills 3 foreign troops

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
State Sen. Wright resigns after voter fraud case

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

Gazans rush to enjoy life after ruinous war

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Decades later, Vietnam soldiers get Medal of Honor

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 5 Comments | Gallery

Mystery airstrikes target Libyan Islamist militias

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Tiny Qatar plays outsize role in US war strategy

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Generation gap: Young Scots favor independence

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Police: Rifle used to ambush Pennsylvania troopers

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Hurricane Odile slams Mexico’s Baja California

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
House GOP moves ahead on Syrian rebel training

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Kerry: US open to talks with Iran on Islamic State

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Poll: Voters support legal path for immigrants

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 3 Comments

Man suspected of firing on kids at ice cream truck

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
NASA inspector blasts asteroid protection program

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

Officials disclose Delaware funeral home Jonestown remains

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Southern California swelters in heat wave

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Northern California wildfire burns 100 homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
9 hurt in crash on SF Bay Area freeway

By The Associated Press | From Page:

PG&E officials removed for improper communications

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Chicago, NY, Hawaii on Obama library’s short list

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 2 Comments | Gallery

Powerful Washington lobbyist Boggs dies at 73

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Opinion

 
Column focus on campaign signs misplaced

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 12 Comments

.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 16, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: , 1 Comment

 
.

Entertainment

Apple releases tool to remove free U2 album

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Cat Stevens announces brief US concert tour

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Forward-thinking U2 innovating while entertaining

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Revamped ‘View’ begins its daytime run

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Clooney to receive HFPA’s Cecil B. DeMille Award

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Exhibition looks at genius of carousel inventor

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Miss America: More to worry about than red cup

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

 
Protocol followed in detention of actress

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Jean Paul Gaultier to stop making ready-to-wear

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Atlanta rapper Gucci Mane sentenced in assault

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Bob Crewe, ‘Walk Like a Man’ writer, dead at 83

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
TVGrid Seot 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

.

Sports

Diamondbacks knock off Giants 6-2

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Prep boys soccer: Vanden wins, Armijo ties, VCS falls

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

Prep volleyball: VCS swept by Woodland Christian

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Foles leads Eagles to 30-27 win against Colts

By The Associated Press | From Page:

This date in sports history for Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Cardinals manager can relate to Stanton incident

By The Associated Press | From Page:

As troops exit, Britain aids soccer in Afghanistan

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
US uses big third quarter to pull away from Canada

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Backup QBs make their marks in Week 2

By Barry Wilner | From Page:

 
NFL, union close to finalizing new drug policy

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Tanaka 5 scoreless innings in instructional league

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Mets rookie deGrom ties K mark; Marlins win 6-5

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Papelbon suspended 7 games by MLB

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Dream Team, Barcelona Games continue to impact NBA

By The Associated Press | From Page:

US basketball reigns in Spain, awaits Rio Olympics

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
AP Source: Raiders to sign WR Vincent Brown

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Raiders embarrassed after 0-2 start

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Redskins optimistic RG3 will return this season

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Pistorius free to compete, SA Olympic body says

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Woods says strength is back, but not swing

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Domestic violence experts added as NFL advisers

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Union expects to file Rice appeal Tuesday

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Vikings bring back Peterson despite abuse charge

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Patriots still not quite right with ball

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Harbaugh: McDonald’s legal process must play out

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Business

US wealth gap putting the squeeze on state revenue

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Speculation swirls over Fed language on rate hike

By The Associated Press | From Page:

GM expert says 19 deaths eligible for compensation

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Once-troubled reverse mortgages poised for rebound

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Apple: Record 4M orders of iPhones on 1st day

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
‘Minecraft’ could boost Microsoft’s mobile reach

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Stocks mixed ahead of Fed; small companies slump

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
.

Obituaries

Minnie Lee Dixon

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Baby Blues Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baldo Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Crossword Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sally Forth Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Bridge Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Garfield September 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Word Sleuth Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Rose is Rose Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote Sept 16

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5