US Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said on Wednesday that he does not plan to resign over the claims that 40 people died while waiting for medical care in the veterans’ healthcare systems.
When asked if he would resign, he said he serves “at the pleasure of the president” and won’t resign.
He also said that he was “angry” over the claims and wants a full investigation.
“What I want veterans to know … this is a good, quality healthcare system, not perfect, and when we stumble across our imperfections, we’re going to do something about it, we get to the bottom of it, and to the best of our abilities assure it never happens again,” Shinseki said in an interview.
Some Republican lawmakers have called for Shinseki’s resignation. They include Kansas Senator Jerry Moran, a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, who said on Tuesday the Veterans Affairs Department (VAD) needed a “true transformation … from top to bottom.”
President Barack Obama has expressed support for Shinseki and the VAD has defended his record.
Veterans Affairs is the biggest U.S. healthcare system, with 1,700 hospitals, clinics and other facilities. It has nearly 9 million people enrolled.