The chairman of the congressional committee charged with investigating allegations of cooked books, a secret wait list and cover-ups in the Veterans Affairs health care system says the findings are “just the tip of the iceberg.”
“I know there’s more to come,” Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Florida, chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee said on New Day on Thursday. “We’ve received some information and some tips that will make what has already come look like kindergarten stuff.”
His comments come as the committee received word late Wednesday that the three senior VA officials called to testify at a meeting on Thursday would likely not show. The officials said “we didn’t give them enough time to be able to get there,” Miller said calling the excuse “disingenuous”.
The officials were to face a grilling on Capitol Hill over the treatment delays. Instead, the committee will discuss “next steps”, Miller said.
“My intent is to go ahead and subpoena them for appearance before the congress for testimony on the 30th,” Miller said.
Miller has accused the VA of failing to adequately respond to his panel’s May 8 subpoena, which included a request for information about the alleged destruction of the secret wait list in Phoenix. Officials have denied any knowledge of it.
Meanwhile, VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is expected to meet with Sen. Dick Durbin on Thursday — a day after the President said he wasn’t firing the embattled secretary over excessive and sometimes deadly waiting times faced by veterans.
The controversy has mushroomed since CNN first reported the problem last November in a detailed investigation examining several VA hospitals.
After meeting with Shinseki at the White House on Wednesday, President Barack Obama promised accountability, but said he needed more time to review what was going on.
“If these allegations prove to be true, it is dishonorable, it is disgraceful, and I will not tolerate it, period,” Obama said.
SOURCE: Halimah Abdullah, Scott Bronstein, Tom Cohen and Holly Yan