Veterans Affairs Secretary
He's a twice-wounded Army veteran of the
But whether Shinseki, who is one of President
Shinseki is scheduled to testify Thursday before a
Shinseki's leadership has come under fire after claims that up to 40 veterans' deaths have been linked to excessive wait times for service at a Phoenix VA facility, where officials may have kept separate record books to hide the problem.
Whistle-blowers in other states have raised similar concerns of long waits and other problems with VA care, including in Mississippi, Missouri and Texas.
"We still don't know exactly how many veterans have died or otherwise suffered because of the VA's assorted failures and abuses, but we do know that it's disgraceful," said Sen.
But Miller asked Obama this week to form an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the reports that are surfacing on a "near-daily basis," and he expressed "grave" concerns over whether the VA could adequately conduct an internal review.
Shinseki will face the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, which has long investigated problems at the VA. And even though the strongest criticisms of Shinseki have come this election year from Republicans, Sen.
Shinseki placed three Phoenix officials on administrative leave earlier this month, including the center's director and associate director, but has otherwise sought to allow the inspector general's investigation to proceed before taking further action.
The nation's veterans' service organizations will also testify at Thursday's hearing, but even those who have refrained from calling for Shinseki's resignation expressed little tolerance for ongoing problems.