Obama’s Veterans Affairs undersecretary pick withdraws name from consideration

By Daniel S Levine,

President Barack Obama’s choice to fill a high-ranking position in the national Veterans Affairs office has withdrawn his name from consideration on Thursday, fearing a long political battle before he would finally take the office.

Jeffrey Murawsky, the health care chief at the VA Chicago office, was Obama’s pick to replace undersecretary Robert Petzel, notes The Associated Press. He currently oversees operations at hospitals in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan and is still a doctor on the Hines, Illinois hospital staff.

The White House said that Murawsky believes that this position needs to be filled as fast as possible, but there will be a long political battle ahead. Now, the administration needs to find another pick quickly.

Petzel resigned back on May 16, although he was scheduled to retire at the end of the year. His chief deputy, Robert Jesse, is currently acting undersecretary.

VA secretary Eric Shinseki also resigned in the wake of the wait times scandal. Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson is currently in Phoenix to visit the VA hospital there, where reports of veterans’ deaths caused the scandal to draw national attention.

The New York Times, Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and John McCain (R-Arizona) have announced an agreement to introduce a bill that would give Gibson the authority to fire senior officials and help veterans on wait lists get access to health care.



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