On Sunday, Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced a far-reaching proposal to overhaul health care for veterans. The Restoring Veterans' Trust Act would give the VA secretary the authority to remove senior officials based on poor job performance; grant VA expedited hiring authority for nurses and doctors; authorize the department to lease 27 new facilities in 18 states and Puerto Rico; mandate a software upgrade for the department's patient scheduling system by March 2016; and expand opportunities for eligible veterans to seek outside care if VA facilities are unavailable.Senate Republicans already filibustered many of these proposals back in February, but maybe they'll rethink that now that more people are paying attention. House Republicans have already passed a bill making it easier for the VA secretary to fire officials, but Bernie Sanders has concerns about the specifics:
"The nightmare could be under the current bill that passed the House that a new president comes in and they fire hundreds of high-ranking VA officials without due process or particular reason," Sanders said. "I think you cannot run a health-care system the size of the VA like that. You want to be able to get rid of people at the VA who are incompetent in a very rapid way, but you have to have due process."This is a concern that will be hard to discount for anyone who ever paid attention to anything the Bush administration did—except for the people who were cheerleading Bush on in making federal agencies as partisan as possible, which is most congressional Republicans.
In other words, Shinseki's resignation only set the stage for the next round of fighting and Republican posturing.