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Ranking Member Walz Statement Following Confirmation Of Robert Wilkie To Be Secretary of Veterans Affairs

Jul 23, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-MN) released the following statement after the Senate voted to confirm Robert Wilkie to be Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):

“I firmly believe that any individual nominated by President Trump to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs will inherently work to move key VA services, initiatives, and resources into the private sector,” said Ranking Member Tim Walz. “That is why I find Mr. Wilkie’s reputation as a political operative ‘willing to fight on the front lines of his bosses’ culture wars,’ as the Washington Post described him last month, to be the central reason behind his nomination in the first place. As the chief architect of President Trump’s ban on transgender individuals serving in the military – a policy that negatively impacted countless servicemembers and veterans as well as our armed services as a whole – Mr. Wilkie proved to President Trump that he was capable of carrying out controversial and partisan policy directives. It is fair to say VA privatization is next on his list.”

“While I remain deeply skeptical of Robert Wilkie’s leadership experience and ability to lead VA successfully, I look forward to bidding farewell to Acting Secretary Peter O’Rourke, who has used his temporary status to intimidate the VA Inspector General and allegedly reshape the VA workforce for partisan gain. With this confirmation, Acting Secretary O’Rourke will be rightfully replaced, and Congress will finally have someone at VA who we can hold accountable.

“Veterans and their families deserve a VA Secretary who will lead the department with integrity, stand up against VA privatization, and fight tirelessly to improve their lives, including the lives of our many LGBTQ+ veterans. I look forward to working on a bipartisan basis with my colleagues in Congress to hold Mr. Wilkie to that standard.”