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 »
"Christine Blasey Ford told Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley Tuesday night that she wants the FBI to investigate her claims of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, raising further doubts about whether she and Kavanaugh will appear before the committee on Monday." Grassley still wants her to
FEMA, "which oversees the wireless emergency alert (WEA) system, announced that the test that had been scheduled for Thursday will be pushed back to Oct. 3, citing the 'ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.'" The system, intended for national emergencies, allows the president to send a nationwide wireless message.
"President Donald Trump on Monday ordered the immediate declassification of redacted materials in the FBI’s 2017 application to spy on Carter Page, as well as various FBI reports of interviews related to that matter including ones conducted with DOJ official Bruce Ohr." Sarah Sanders said he was doing so at the request of some members of Congress.