07.23.18

Rep. Takano Statement on the Confirmation of Robert Wilkie as VA Secretary

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Vice Ranking Member, released this statement after the Senate confirmation of Robert Wilkie as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):

“The Secretary of Veterans Affairs is tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that all of our country’s veterans are properly served by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Which is why Robert Wilkie’s role in the implementation of the trans military ban at the Department of Defense is extremely concerning. As the new VA Secretary, Mr. Wilkie must be committed to working for all veterans—including trans veterans—as well as withstanding efforts by this administration to politicize and undermine the VA. Anything less cannot be tolerated. 

“The VA is better equipped than non-VA providers to properly address complex veteran care and provide continuity of resources for veterans. It is critical for Mr. Wilkie to oppose policies that would jeopardize care for veterans by moving resources away from the VA and into the private sector.

“In response to Questions for the Record, Mr. Wilkie affirmed that veterans are constantly targeted by for-profit institutions, such as the defunct Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech which defrauded veterans and jeopardized their futures. We must hold him accountable to this and see that he makes it a priority to provide benefit restorations to every eligible veteran who was scammed by for-profit colleges.  

“As Acting Secretary, Peter O’Rourke caused terrible damage by playing partisan politics and doing President Trump’s bidding at the VA. It is now up to Mr. Wilkie to reverse that damage and guarantee that such politicization of the VA never happens again. I will continue working in Congress to hold Mr. Wilkie accountable to our veterans and the American people. Our heroes deserve a VA Secretary who will put their needs first.”

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