February 13, 2017

Kaine Statement On Vote To Confirm David Shulkin As Secretary Of Veterans Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement today on his vote to confirm David Shulkin as Secretary of Veterans Affairs:

“I voted to confirm Dr. David Shulkin as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. It’s critical that the VA continues to implement the reforms initiated by Congress and Secretary McDonald so that thousands of veterans can receive the timely health care they deserve. From his previous role as President Obama’s chief executive of the Veterans Health Administration, Dr. Shulkin has the institutional knowledge and support of Veterans Service Organizations to continue making strides in improving timely access to care and making the VA more focused on specific veterans’ needs. In Virginia alone, we’ve already seen improvement in wait times at the Hampton VA Medical Center—which had one of the longest wait times in the country two years ago—but we must keep working to improve timely access to quality care to those veterans in need. Virginia is home to nearly 800,000 veterans and has one of the fastest-growing veterans populations in the country, so any change disproportionately affects our population. I look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Shulkin on improving the VA, simplifying the complex disability and benefits claims process, and improving the compatibility of VA, Defense Department, and private sector records systems.”

Kaine recently sent a letter to President Trump urging him to exempt the VA and all veterans seeking federal jobs from the recent federal hiring freeze, noting that the freeze would exacerbate chronic VA labor shortages and reduce veteran employment. Kaine also reintroduced the bipartisan Providing Veterans Overdue Care Act to authorize pending leases for 24 VA medical facilities, including a 155,000 square foot outpatient facility in Hampton Roads.

In addition to Dr. Shulkin, Kaine has voted in support of James Mattis, John Kelly, Mike Pompeo, Nikki Haley and Elaine Chao. Kaine has voted against Rex Tillerson, Jeff Sessions, Betsy DeVos, Tom Price, and Steven Mnuchin. He has announced his opposition to the nominations of Ben Carson, Mick Mulvaney, and Scott Pruitt. Additional decisions are forthcoming based on ongoing review of the nominees’ backgrounds and confirmation hearings.