Senate advances Trump's VA nominee

In a near-unanimous voice vote on July 10, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee advanced Robert Wilkie's nomination for VA secretary to the full Senate floor, Military.com reported.

Only Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., voted against Mr. Wilkie's nomination. Mr. Sanders said his vote was "less against Mr. Wilkie than against President [Donald] Trump," according to Military.com. Mr. Sanders said he is wary President Trump will push Mr. Wilkie to privatize the VA, according to the report.  

In his committee hearing June 27, Mr. Wilkie committed to opposing efforts to privatize the VA and said he felt he had the autonomy to disagree with President Trump if he believed it was best for veterans. However, the last VA secretary, David Shulkin, MD, said after leaving the role that he felt he was let go for opposing the president on privatization. 

Mr. Wilkie served as acting VA secretary after Dr. Shulkin, but stepped down to allow for the nomination, which came as a surprise at a May 18 prison summit. Mr. Wilkie also served as the undersecretary for personnel and readiness in the Defense Department. He is currently a reserve officer in the Air Force, assigned to the Office of the Chief of Staff, and previously served in the Navy as an intelligence officer. He also previously served as adviser to former Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., and former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss.

 

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