WASHINGTON — Even after being rocked by scandal and shortfalls in care, the Department of Veterans Affairs can be fixed with “urgent action,” Robert McDonald, President Obama’s nominee to lead the VA, told lawmakers Tuesday.
That means righting well-documented lapses in “accountability and integrity,” Mr. McDonald, the former CEO of Procter & Gamble, said in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
“While there is much that is going well, there have been systematic failures, which suggest that some in the organization have lost track of the mission and the core values,” he said.
“When you run a large organization, there are always things that go wrong,” he added. “The people I’ve met seem very dedicated to the mission and the core values – but what we’ve got to do is figure out who wasn’t.”
If confirmed, as is widely expected to happen in a Senate vote Wednesday, McDonald, a West Point graduate who later served as a captain in the 82nd Airborne Division, will be responsible for turning around a department with some 310,000 employees and a $163 billion budget – a budget that has tripled since 2000.