GOP leaders ask Obama to care for all vets, not just those in Phoenix

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House Republican leaders sent a letter to the president Wednesday morning asking how he will help veterans who have been waiting too long for care beyond the 1,700 found by the inspector general in Phoenix.

“In light of the systemic nature of this problem, however, how will you address veterans who are waiting for care across the country?” the letter said. “All veterans on waiting lists should be able to easily access care outside the [Veterans Affairs] without waiting for a potentially corrupt facility to approve their request.”

Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson said Wednesday morning that the Department of Veterans Affairs had called all veterans found to be left off a wait list at the Phoenix VA facility, according to a VA release. Mr. Gibson also announced during a meeting with several veterans service organizations that he would travel to Phoenix on Thursday.

The House letter called on President Obama to support legislation from Rep. Jeff Miller, Florida Republican and chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, that would allow all vets to seek care outside the VA if they couldn’t schedule an appointment within 30 days.

The letter also asked the president to support the House bill to give the VA secretary more power to hire top executives. Despite passing the house 390-33 last month, the Senate has yet to take up the bill.

“We ask that you publicly call on Senate Democrats to reconsider their obstruction, and immediately pass H.R. 4031 so we can begin to address these ‘basic management issues.’” the leaders wrote in the letter.

The letter was sent by Speaker John A. Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

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