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Nolan: Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki should resign

WASHINGTON — Rep Rick Nolan became only the fourth congressional Democrat to call for Shinseki to resign.

Rep. Rick Nolan
Rep. Rick Nolan

WASHINGTON — Embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki should resign his post in light of a growing scandal over VA clinic wait times, Democratic U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan said Friday.

Nolan is the first Democrat from Minnesota — and one of only a few Democrats in Congress — to say Shinseki should resign.

“It’s the right thing to do in light of the systemic, chronic and shameful mismanagement of the care of our nation’s heroes,” Nolan said in a statement. “These issues did not begin with Secretary Shinseki, but he’s had six years to fix the problems that plague this agency, and it’s highly unlikely that any more time will make a difference. The VA requires a new leadership team with a fresh perspective and a total commitment to our veterans and their families.”

Nolan also said House Speaker John Boehner should establish a select committee to investigate the revelations of overly long, and often hidden, wait times for veterans at VA clinics around the United States. Earlier, Nolan announced he will hold a series of veterans roundtables in the 8th District to talk about VA care. 

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Rep. Tim Walz said this week it doesn’t appear Minnesota’s VA clinics are plagued by secret wait lists. He said President Obama should have acted more swiftly to address the scandal, but stopped short of calling for Shinseki to resign. 

A handful of prominent Democratic candidates around the country have said Shinseki should lose his job, but very few sitting Democrats in Congress have done so — only Georgia Reps. David Scott and John Barrow and West Virginia Rep. Nick Rahall, according to a list compiled by Military Times reporter Leo Shane.

President Obama said Shinseki’s job is safe for now, and while many Republicans have said he should go, Boehner himself has not.

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com