Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, called Wednesday for the resignation of Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki following revelations that around 40 former armed forces members died while awaiting treatment at a VA facility in Phoenix.
If Shinseki doesn't step down, President Barack Obama should fire the former Army general, Peters said.
"For too long, the VA has been steeped in complacency and mismanagement -- that has to end today and the change must begin at the top," Peters said. "While General Shinseki's service to his country is unquestioned, the failure to make necessary changes cannot continue."
Peters issued the statement about a week after one of his primary election opponents, former city councilman and onetime San Diego mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio, made a similar call.
Peters recently voted in favor of a bill that would give the VA secretary more flexibility over the employment status of senior executives. He had stopped short of calling for Shinseki to step down until today.
"Our veterans and I have lost confidence in the secretary's ability to lead this deeply troubled institution," Peters said. "While I feel strongly that the changes needed are much bigger than just firing one person, this is the right start."
The congressman said many more changes in the VA will be needed in the future, including rooting out managers who allowed unacceptable practices to occur.
The president has stood by Shinseki so far. A federal investigation is underway at 26 VA facilities, none in San Diego.—City News Service