- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

President Obama will speak Wednesday morning immediately after meeting with embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, as outrage and criticism mounts from both parties over the White House response to the expanding scandal of mismanagement at VA hospitals.

Mr. Obama is expected to address the growing firestorm around the VA in remarks on the White House briefing room. The meeting with Mr. Shinseki and the president’s remarks were announced as additions to Mr. Obama’s daily schedule.

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors was also listed as an attendee for the sit-down for Mr. Shinseki, who has so far vowed to stay on and has retained Mr. Obama’s support in the face of calls for him to resign or be fired.

Later Wednesday, Mr. Nabors will travel to Phoenix, where allegations have surfaced that as many as 40 veterans died while waiting for care at a VA facility.

Mr. Obama’s meeting with Mr. Nabors and Mr. Shinseki follows an announcement late Tuesday that the Veterans Affairs Inspector General’s Office was investigating 26 VA facilities nationwide for allegedly using secret waiting lists and other bookkeeping deceptions to conceal long delays of treatments for patients.

The meeting also coincides with a House vote Wednesday on a bill that would give the VA secretary expanded authority to fire or demote senior executives for “poor performance in the same manner a member of Congress can remove a member of their staff,” according to a summary of the bill.

The White House this week has struggled to explain exactly when the president learned of issues with wait times and inaccurate reporting at VA facilities.

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