Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he has met with Robert McDonald, nominee to be Secretary to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and pressed for answers on the challenges that veterans are facing across Pennsylvania. Senator Casey invited Mr. McDonald to come to Pennsylvania if confirmed and meet with veterans, and their family members, who have experienced difficulties at VA facilities. Casey led the efforts to hold the VA accountable in the wake of a Legionnaires’ outbreak at the VA Pittsburgh Health System and allegations of claims mismanagement in Philadelphia.
“Today I was pleased to meet with Robert McDonald to discuss his nomination to be the next Secretary of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. The challenges facing the VA are enormous. In this meeting, I pressed him on a host of issues facing veterans in Pennsylvania and around the country, including lack of reporting and accountability during the Legionnaires’ outbreak in Pittsburgh, the disability claims backlog, new concerns that have been raised in Philadelphia, and the mismanagement at the VA that has impacted veterans throughout the state.
I stressed the need to evaluate claims accurately and expeditiously in order to reduce the backlog. Comprehensive legislation, such as the 21st Century Veterans Benefits Delivery Act that I introduced with Senator Heller, is needed to ensure the VA has everything it needs to process claims efficiently and accurately. We need to move the process into the 21st century.
I received important assurances from Mr. McDonald that he is committed to refocusing attention on the health and safety of our veterans who deserve nothing less than the highest quality care from the VA. I invited him to travel to Pennsylvania, if confirmed, to see firsthand how mismanagement and delays have impacted our veterans. It is crucial that the VA work to earn the trust of veterans and their families. I intend to press the Administration and Mr. McDonald, if confirmed, to ensure these issues are addressed promptly.”