President Obama’s nominee to be the top health official at the Veterans Affairs Department withdrew Thursday, his confirmation chances severely compromised by potential ties to the department’s broader “waiting list” scandal
Reports have linked Jeffrey Murawsky — who was Obama’s choice to serve as the department’s next undersecretary for health — to an Illinois facility where staff allegedly placed veterans on such secret waiting lists for medical appointments. He was also a physician at the facility, and he technically remains on staff.
Murawsky asked the White House and Sloan Gibson, the VA’s acting secretary, to pull his nomination to be the department’s next undersecretary for health.
It’s the second loss for the department in under a week, with Eric Shinseki resigning as secretary on Friday. A report from the VA’s inspector general released last month found that “inappropriate scheduling practices are a systemic problem nationwide.”
President Obama nominated Murawsky on May 1 to succeed Robert Petzel, who was expected to retire later this year. But Petzel resigned abruptly last month as the department’s scandal continued to grow.
“The president and Acting Secretary [Sloan Gibson] plan to move as quickly as possible to fill the position with the best possible candidate who can ensure that our veterans get the care they have earned and deserve,” a senior administration official said, confirming Murawsky’s decision to withdraw — originally reported by the Associated Press.
Gibson will ask a commission to recommend a new nominee for the Veterans Health Administration.
Murawsky’s decision comes as independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont unveiled a bipartisan bill aimed at fixing many of the VA’s problems. The legislation would make it easier for Gibson to fire senior officials, while also including — unlike a similar bill passed by the House last week — one week for employees to appeal the decision.
What We're Following See More »
After keeping the information private for most of the lead-up to the debate on Monday, it has been revealed that longtime Clinton aide Philippe Reines has been playing the role of Donald Trump in her debate prep. Reines knows Clinton better than most, able to identify both her strengths and weaknesses, and his selection for a sparring partner shows that Clinton is preparing for the brash and confrontational Donald Trump many have come to expect.
- A national Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Clinton leading Trump by just two points among likely voters, 46% to 44%.
- A national Bloomberg poll out Monday morning by Selzer & Co. has Clinton and Trump tied at 46% in a two-way race, and Trump ahead 43% to 41% in a four-way race.
- A CNN/ORC poll in Colorado shows likely voters’ support for Trump at 42%, 41% for Clinton, and a CNN/ORC poll in Pennsylvania has Clinton at 45% and Trump at 44%.
- A Portland Press Herald/UNH survey in Maine has Clinton leading Trump in ME-01 and Trump ahead in ME-02.
More than 30 times, in the case of some donors. Long before Cruz endorsed Trump—and before he even snubbed the nominee at the Republican National Convention—"the senator quietly began renting his vast donor email file to his former rival, pocketing at least tens of thousands of dollars, and more likely hundreds of thousands, that can be used to bankroll the Texan’s own political future."
"A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 34% of registered voters think the three presidential debates would be extremely or quite important in helping them decide whom to support for president. About 11% of voters are considered 'debate persuadables'—that is, they think the debates are important and are either third-party voters or only loosely committed to either major-party candidate."
Will he or won't he? That's the question surrounding Donald Trump and his on-again, off-again threats to bring onetime Bill Clinton paramour Gennifer Flowers to the debate as his guest. An assistant to flowers initially said she'd be there, but Trump campaign chief Kellyanne Conway "said on ABC’s 'This Week' that the Trump campaign had not invited Flowers to the debate, but she didn’t rule out the possibility of Flowers being in the audience."