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Sen. John McCain: Head of VA should ‘move on’

LISTEN: Senator John McCain

PHOENIX — Sen. John McCain said it is time for the head of America’s Veteran Administration to “move on,” particularly if allegations of massive failures in the system prove true.

“I haven’t said this before, but I think it’s for Gen. [Erik] Shinseki to move on,” the Arizona senator told CNN.

Though he did not plainly state Shinseki should resign, McCain called on the general to look within himself.

“I really believe Gen. Shinseki should review, in his own mind, whether can adequately serve the country, carrying out the responsibilities, given the things that have happened on his watch.”

In a later joint press conference with Sen. Jeff Flake, McCain did not mince words on how the situation should fixed.

“You fire people and hold them responsible,” he said.

Rep. Matt Salmon echoed the call in a Wednesday press release.

“It is time for Secretary Shinseki to resign his position as the head of Veterans Affairs in order to restore faith in the system,” he said.

He was joined by Rep. Paul Gosar.

“The fact that 1,700 veterans were kept on unofficial records lists in order to conceal lengthy wait times and manipulate data is disgraceful, despicable and dangerous,” he said in a release.

U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) also weighed in on the report:

Sinema said in a release she has requested local care providers contact her office to get veterans treated as quickly as possible.

“As upsetting as this report is, the bottom line is there are over 3,100 veterans who are still waiting to get access to care, and it is our duty to get them that access to care immediately,” she said.

Shinseki has stated numerous times he would not resign.

The lawmakers also called for justice for the veterans who were allegedly wronged by the system, including those who passed away waiting for care.

“If records were falsified and people were denied care and people denied — as was the allegation here of 40 people dying while on that mythical list — these are criminal activities that deserve Justice Department involvement,” he said.

They also promised to work towards bettering the nation’s health care system for veterans.

Earlier this month, VA Undersecretary Robert Petzel resigned shortly after a VA review cleared the agency of wrongdoing.

KTAR’s Clayton Klapper and Jim Cross contributed to this report.

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