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Delay Considered for VA Confirmation   04/24 05:59

   Senators were discussing plans to delay the confirmation hearing for 
President Donald Trump's pick to be Veteran Affairs secretary over growing 
questions about the nominee's ability to manage the government's second-largest 
department.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senators were discussing plans to delay the confirmation 
hearing for President Donald Trump's pick to be Veteran Affairs secretary over 
growing questions about the nominee's ability to manage the government's 
second-largest department.

   The hearing for Ronny Jackson, Trump's White House doctor and a Navy rear 
admiral, was scheduled for Wednesday.

   "Some Republican colleagues have told me that they think the hearing should 
be postponed, which certainly deserves consideration," said Sen. Richard 
Blumenthal, D-Conn., a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

   "I think there may well be a need for more time, in fairness to Admiral 
Jackson, so he and the administration have an opportunity to answer these 
questions fully and fairly," he said.

   Blumenthal declined to discuss why more time might be needed.

   White House and VA officials were also discussing a delay with key allies 
outside the administration

   A spokeswoman for Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., the committee's chairman, did 
not return requests for comment.

   Trump selected Jackson to head the VA last month after firing former Obama 
administration official David Shulkin following an ethics scandal and mounting 
rebellion within the agency. But Jackson has since faced numerous questions 
from Republican and Democratic lawmakers as well as veterans groups about 
whether he has the experience to manage the massive department of 360,000 
employees serving 9 million veterans.

   Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., and a committee member, said Jackson's small staff 
at the White House will be an issue as he prepares to lead the VA.

   "We've got 360,000 people there," he said. "Are they going to manage the 
secretary or is the secretary going to manage the VA? That's a good question to 
ask, and he needs to answer it. He needs to be the leader. A lot of folks want 
to be led and managed."

   Rounds said the committee still needs more paperwork from the White House on 
Jackson before the nomination can go forward.


(KA)

 
 
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