Anonymous senator blocks affirmation of 4 prime VA leaders

Four nominees for high-profile posts at the Department of Veterans Affairs have been stalled weeks after an unidentified lawmaker on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee positioned a hold on their confirmations, the panel’s chairman confirmed on Wednesday.

The transfer has frustrated committee leaders and VA officers

who’ve mentioned the delay in the confirmations is slowing reform efforts on the division. “You’re not hurting these people, you’re hurting the veterans they serve and you’re hurting the VA,” said chairman Jon Tester, D-Mont. “If we wish to hold the VA accountable, it is patently unfair to not give them a full slate of workers.” The group of stalled nominees contains Donald Remy, tapped to be the Deputy VA Secretary, the second-highest position within the division; Matthew Quinn, picked to function under secretary for memorial affairs; Maryanne Donaghy, nominated to guide VA’s whistleblower safety office; and Patricia Ross, selected to be assistant secretary for legislative affairs.

The follow of nameless holds permits any particular person senator to indefinitely delay nominees for any cause. Placing holds on nominees for points related to their background or issues over their past feedback is common in the Senate, as is holding up nominees for unrelated requests of a division, such as policy query responses or overdue congressional inquiries. But Tester’s public frustration and confusion over the hold just isn’t typical. And the move provides to the already gradual tempo of filling top positions on the division, which has been and not utilizing a beneath secretary for well being for greater than 4 years and still has appearing officers in almost all of its different top management posts. All 4 of the VA nominees have been unanimously approved by the committee final month.

Tester mentioned he does not know

who positioned the hold on the confirmations or why, however he does realize it was done by a member of his committee. “If they’re being held as a outcome of the VA just isn’t stepping up and doing one thing, let this committee know,” Tester said in a public plea on the end of an unrelated hearing Wednesday afternoon. “If it’s a reasonable request, more than likely we’ll allow you to get VA to realize that goal. “If it’s an unreasonable request, then that’s very unfortunate.”

Late last month, the confirmation of Army Secretary Christine Wormuth was delayed after Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., put a maintain on her nomination until a constituent’s army pay concern was resolved. On Tuesday, during an look earlier than the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, VA Secretary Denis McDonough expressed hope that Remy and the opposite nominees would be confirmed in the subsequent few days, calling their roles “vitally necessary.” None of the nominees confronted any controversy or opposition throughout their affirmation hearing in May. With the Senate scheduled to depart town on Thursday afternoon for the weekend, the nominations are more probably to slip till sometime next week on the earliest, if the maintain is lifted.