Costa Responds to Secretary Shinseki’s Resignation

Costa: “We must get to the bottom of this mess”

Washington, D.C. — Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno) today responded to the resignation of Secretary Eric Shinseki, calling the problems at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) “endemic.” Costa has worked for years to provide the department with the necessary resources to care for our veterans and hold officials accountable for unacceptable wait times at VA Regional Offices.

“General Shinseki did the right thing by submitting his resignation to the President. Notwithstanding his long and distinguished service to our country, the problems associated with the VA have been problematic for years going back to previous administrations. In my opinion, the problems are endemic,” said Costa.

“We have seen these problems in the Valley as well, with too many veterans benefits claims stuck in the backlog at the Oakland Regional Office. Two weeks ago, I requested a full briefing from the VA and the Inspector General on the nationwide audit of all medical clinics, including the VA Central California Health Care System. We must get to the bottom of this mess and restore veterans’ faith in the Veterans Affairs medical system.

“The President and new Acting Director Sloan Gibson have an opportunity to overhaul the VA to better serve the men and women who served our country. I look forward to working with them to ensure our veterans receive the benefits and care they deserve.”

Last month, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a bipartisan amendment, authored by Congressman Costa, which would give the VA additional resources to address the shameful disability claims backlog. The majority of California veterans have their cases processed by the Oakland and Los Angeles offices where the average time a case is pending is 385 and 317 days, respectively. The bipartisan amendment redirects an additional $10 million to pay for programs like the Veterans Claims Intake Program, the centralized mail initiative, and staff overtime, which will help break the logjam.