Here Are the People Who Wanted Shinseki Fired but Didn’t Vote for VA Funds

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
May 30 2014 2:37 PM

Here Are the People Who Wanted Shinseki Fired but Didn’t Vote for VA Funds

Got the boot for mismanagement, but not responsible for the under-funding.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Atlantic Wire has assembled a list of everyone in Congress who called for Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign after reports of gross incompetence at VA hospitals across the country. (“Systematic delays” in veterans’ health services was the polite way of saying veterans died waiting for care.) Members on both sides of the aisle wanted Shinseki’s head. 

But some of these hecklers themselves aren’t so blameless. In 2013 many of them voted against the appropriations bill (later passed) that increased funds to the Veterans Benefits Administration, granted money for construction of state extended care facilities, and released funds to operations of Defense Department/VA medical facilities. Though this was part of a larger bill that covered other sectors, it contained significant appropriations for VA spending. It provided $133.9 billion in budget authority for the VA as a whole, including $72.9 billion in mandatory funding and $61 billion in discretionary funding. It confirmed a 2009 pledge to provide $54.5 billion in “advance appropriations for the three medical care accounts (medical services, medical support and compliance, and medical facilities)” for the 2014 fiscal year. 


Of the 14 Republican senators who have called for Shinseki’s ousting, 11 voted “no on the bill. (All Democratic senators but one voted in favor.) This was true even though the bill’s House sponsor was Kentucky Republican Hal Rogers. Among Rogers’ Republican colleagues, Rep. Scott DesJarlais, who has called for Shinseki to step down, voted “no,” as did Democratic Reps. Tammy Duckworth, Derek Kilmer, Bruce Braley, Jerry McNerney, and Rick Nolan. (Reps. Kilmer, Duckworth, McNerney, and McCarthy voted for a subsequent version of the bill the increased VA funding several weeks later.)*

Veterans groups have been decrying that the VA has been chronically underfunded for years. Though there’s a slew of reasons for the VA’s awful failures on this front, one can’t help but think that voting against giving the agency much-needed resources, then crying bloody murder over Shinseki’s role, smacks of hypocrisy. 

Update May 30, 2014: Here is the list of Senators who voted nay:

Richard Burr (R-NC), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Rob Portman (R-OH), John McCain (R-AZ), Tim Scott (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Dean Heller (R-NV), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)

*Update June 2, 2014: This post has been updated to clarify that Reps. Kilmer, Duckworth, McNerney, and McCarthy later supported the bill in a subsequent vote taken on March 21, 2013.

Boer Deng is a Slate editorial assistant. Follow her on Twitter



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

The Best Thing About the People’s Climate March in NYC

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

John Oliver Debunks the Miss America Pageant’s Claim That It Gives Out $45 Million in Scholarships

Trending News Channel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Over There
Sept. 22 2014 1:29 PM “That’s Called Jim Crow” Philip Gourevitch on America’s hypocritical interventions in Africa.
Sept. 22 2014 1:37 PM Subprime Loans Are Back! And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.
Lexicon Valley
Sept. 22 2014 1:22 PM Is Arabic Really Just One Language? 
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM Escaping the Extreme Christian Fundamentalism of "Quiverfull"
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
Sept. 22 2014 2:12 PM Crusader, Sans Cape The superhero trappings of Gotham are just a clever disguise.
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 12:14 PM Family Court Rules That You Can Serve Someone With Legal Papers Over Facebook
  Health & Science
Sept. 22 2014 12:15 PM The Changing Face of Climate Change Will the leaders of the People’s Climate March now lead the movement?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.