McDonald nomination sails through committee

Cincinnati Enquirer

WASHINGTON – Bob McDonald's confirmation to become the next Veterans Affairs secretary was virtually assured Wednesday, after the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee voted unanimously to support him.

VA Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said he expects the full Senate to confirm McDonald "within days."

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McDonald, a Republican, is a West Point graduate and former Army captain who served in the 82nd Airborne Division. He retired last year as chairman, president and CEO of Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati after bringing in nearly a billion more customers.

President Barack Obama nominated McDonald in June, tapping him to succeed former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, who resigned amid reports that veterans in Phoenix and elsewhere died waiting for health care and that VA officials covered up facts about how long patients had to wait.

"Mr. McDonald brings us two very important qualities," Sanders said in a statement after Wednesday's vote. "No. 1, he is familiar with the military because he served for many years and he brings a passion to take care of our veterans. The other quality that he brings is that he has been the CEO of a major American corporation and that experience gives him the tools to create a well-run and accountable VA."

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said McDonald is the right person to fix the troubled agency — including holding VA employees accountable for mismanagement and increasing the number of doctors and nurses at VA facilities.

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McDonald nomination sails through committee »