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VA Secretary Shinseki Future Weighed by IAVA Membership

NEW YORK (May 5, 2014) – In the last week, the Department of Veterans Affairs has faced growing controversy over medical care at offices in Arizona and Colorado.

Today, the American Legion called for Secretary Eric Shinseki to resign.

In response, IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff issued the following statement:

“There is a crisis of confidence in the VA. What’s happening in Phoenix, and as we now have learned, Colorado, is just the latest instance of the VA failing our veterans. Just as with the disability claims backlog, there is a glaring lack of leadership, accountability and oversight.”

“This is not a new problem. Veterans have been dying in line for care for decades, but we still get business as usual. It’s long past time for real, bold reform at the VA, and that must start with President Obama. More than any other person in the government, it is up to President Obama to lead and make the necessary dramatic changes that will ensure our veterans get the care and support they have earned.

“It’s not just about leadership; it’s also about giving leadership the tools they need. Congress can do its part by passing H.R. 4031, the VA Management Accountability Act, introduced by Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. We need this legislation to strengthen accountability by giving the VA Secretary complete authority to fire or demote employees who have failed to serve veterans.”

“IAVA is a next-generation, membership organization. Any decision we make will not be a hasty one. We are asking our diverse, national membership whether they have confidence in Secretary Shinseki to continue to lead the department. We will soon share the voices of our members. And on Thursday, we will host a press conference in San Diego, home of our largest base of membership, to address the ongoing controversy and how it is affecting veterans.”

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.