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The House passed a bill in February eliminating performance bonuses for the department’s senior executive staff through 2018.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, also called on Obama to back off plans to nominate Jeffrey Murawsky to replace Petzel at the VA. Murawsky, a career VA administrator, directly supervised Helman from 2010 to 2012.

The White House has said Obama remains confident in Shinseki’s leadership and is standing behind Murawsky’s nomination.

Shinseki and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel met with the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday to discuss how the two departments can improve interactions between their health records systems. The two Cabinet members said in a joint statement that the meeting was productive and that both men share the same goal - to improve health outcomes of active duty military, veterans and beneficiaries.

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Associated Press writer Brian Skoloff in Phoenix contributed to this report.

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Follow Matthew Daly on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MatthewDalyWDC