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By Melissa Mollet
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki insists he will not resign after tough questions at a hearing with the Senate Veteran's Affairs Committee. It was his first public testimony since the VA scandal broke; alleging long hospital wait times are responsible for 40 veteran deaths. The secretary claims the problems are not system-wide.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki testifying at a Senate hearing. "Any adverse incident like this makes me, makes me mad as hell," said Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinskei.
The retired Four-Star General and Vietnam Vet is under fire amid reports that as many as 40 veterans died while waiting for medical care from the VA hospital in Phoenix - allegations of a dangerous backlog. "People should be losing their jobs and be on the unemployment rolls today," said Vietnam Veteran John Miska.
Senator John McCain says we should all be ashamed. "I wanted to hear measures that were taken to bring some of these practices to a halt," said the Republican Senator from Arizona.
For now, Shinseki is resisting calls for him to resign and for the FBI to take over unless, he says, the investigation reveals a criminal cover up.
Lawmakers are angry, saying the secretary ignored repeated warnings about problems with the system. "There is no doubt in my mind that are serious problems[.] Does the VA have adequate staffing?" said Senator Bernie Sanders/ (I) Vermont
So far, the VA's top investigator says none of the 17 deaths he's reviewed are linked to long waits for care, but the VA not sure how many deaths it's supposed to look at. "This review is the IG's top priority, " says Acting Inspector General for the VA Richard Griffin.