Corker Says VA Problem Much Deeper Than 1 Person; Chuck Fleischmann Also Responds To Shinseki Resignation

Friday, May 30, 2014

Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) released the following statement Friday regarding the resignation of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki:

“I appreciate Secretary Shinseki’s military and public service to our country, and while a change in leadership was necessary the problems run much deeper than one person,” said Senator Corker. “The administration must work with Congress to solve the chronic, systemic problems that exist within the VA so that our nation’s veterans can receive the quality and timely care they deserve.”

Senator Corker and Senator Lamar Alexander recently wrote to Secretary Shinseki calling on the VA to conduct a “thorough, open and transparent” audit following reports of neglect at some medical facilities, including allegations that up to 40 patients may have died because of delayed care at the Phoenix VA Health Care System. The senators urged the department to consider using a third-party auditor to ensure the review “is independent and transparent," and also asked the VA to provide specific information regarding the average time Tennessee veterans are waiting for care at VA facilities.

The senators also wrote to Under Secretary Petzel, who has since resigned, requesting an update on the implementation of recommendations made in an October 2013 VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) report entitled “Healthcare Inspection Emergency Department Patient Deaths Memphis VA Medical Center (MVAMC) Memphis, Tn..”

Last week, Senators Corker and Alexander joined 23 of their Senate Republican colleagues in requesting an immediate Senate investigation “into reported mismanagement, incompetence, and corruption” within the VA health care centers throughout the country.

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann released the following statement:

“I would like to thank General Shinseki for his years of service to our nation.  However, his resignation alone will not fix the systemic problems within the VA. The men and women who put their lives on the line for our freedoms deserve the absolute best care. I have seen firsthand the inefficiencies within the system through my experiences with my father, and I have worked to increase veterans’ access to first-class care with the opening of three new VA clinics in East Tennessee. However, there is still much more that must be done to fix this flawed system. I am hopeful the President will work with Congress to implement real changes for our veterans.

"The VA scandal is the latest item on a growing list of the Obama administration neglecting and misleading the American people. Our constituents are angry with the administration’s refusal to acknowledge wrongdoing and address these critical issues in meaningful ways. It is deplorable that this latest offense comes at the expense of those who have given the most to our country, and we must fix this broken system."


Corker Welcomes Action On Adoption Of Congolese Children

Senator Bob Corker on Friday said he welcomed passage of S. Res. 502, a Senate resolution concerning the suspension of exit permit issuance by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for adopted Congolese children seeking to depart the country with their adoptive parents.  “I’ve had the opportunity to hear first-hand the stories of many Tennessee families who are stuck in ... (click for more)

Wamp Campaign Critical Of Fleischmann PAC Funds

The Weston Wamp campaign said Friday that incumbent Congressman Chuck Fleischmann raised $30,000 in two days from special interest political action committees (PACs) "to continue to fund his negative campaign. That pushes the incumbent’s campaign past the $550,000 mark in PAC money for the election cycle." The Wamp campaign said Rep. Fleischmann "also raised eight individual ... (click for more)

A Tennessee Transplant's Thoughts On Age And Politics - And Response

I have read several opinions favoring the job performance of Representative Fleischmann as well the apparent disdain that they have for his challenger and his age.  I must disclose that unfortunately, I am unable to cast a vote in the 3rd District Republican primary.  I will however always be a Chattanoogan.  As a result, I feel more engaged in East Tennessee politics ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Orchids And Onions

With record low temperatures being recorded around the South, I didn’t know what I’d find in my garden on the first day of August but – sure enough -- there is a profusion of orchids and onions. The start of college football will be later this month and, with the chilly mornings, fall practice is a far cry from what it will be when the sweltering heat comes back next week. Here’s ... (click for more)

Live Viewing Party Of The National Championship Offered At First Tennessee Pavilion

Chattanooga Football Club fans will get one more chance to gather and cheer on the team as it battles for the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) National Championship powered by Mitre.  On Saturday, from 7-11:30 p.m. at the First Tennessee Pavilion, Big River Brewing Company, Volkswagen Chattanooga, Memorial, Finley Stadium, and EPB Fiber Optics are hosting ... (click for more)

Larry Fleming: Phil Schmidt Made Life Better For Those That Knew Him

The sad news came Thursday morning in a phone call from Jill Bowling, the daughter of Phil Schmidt, longtime photographer at The Chattanooga Times – for years he served as chief of the department – had passed away minutes earlier at TriStar-Centennial Hospital in Nashville. Through Jill’s tears she said, “Daddy died this morning.” It was a phone call I didn’t want to get and ... (click for more)