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tv   Veterans Affairs Secretary Confirmation  CSPAN  July 20, 2018 5:41pm-7:42pm EDT

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and i was annoyed because i wasn't meeting with the mayor. i knew he had been kgb, i was sort of negative about all and he came in and he was equally negative, he didn't want to meet with an american woman who claimed to run a business. i think he was very suspicious of women. he had no gallantry and he was the coldest eyes i've ever seen. very big blue cold eyes and all i could think of was i wonder what would happen if he was interrogating me. >> sunday night at eight eastern on q&a. >> on monday the senate will vote on the confirmation of robert wilkie to be president trump's new veterans affairs secretary. he was nominated to replace david chilton who was fired in march. we will now show you his confirmation hearing in front
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of the senate veterans affairs committee from late june. this is two hours. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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we bring this committee together for the purpose of the confirmation hearing for the nominee of the next secretary of the veterans administration. before we introduce the nominee for his remarks, the ranking member and i will make opening remarks and then will turn it over to senator tillis who will officially introduce our nominee and then we'll go to question and answers after our nominee's testimony yesterday in atlanta georgia at tragedy took place when a veteran of the united states military set himself on fire and was severely injured in the state capital. the my state, my home city, my country, my capital.
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we are doing everything we can to lead up to this and everything they can do and everything that could've been done and i am satisfied with the information i have to date that their response was thorough and complete. obviously saving his life is the number one goal and priority which is in the process of being done now and we hope and pray that will happen. the reason i bring it up as this. we have had a situation for my last four years on the committee where every headline ever saw was about something that happened five years ago that was wrong or bad. never about something happening now that's good. had so much good stuff happen mr. chairman, that i just thought it was time to say this. we want but every resource behind it and see to it that it never happens again but we also want to uplift those in the va that are doing so much to make it better than it was
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in the past. we're going to work as hard as we can see the happen at i'm confident in the republicans and the democrats will do the same thing. we have a respected, talented nominee we will hear from in just a little bit for secretary. will go through this hearing today and hopefully everything goes smooth in the near future we will have a secretary sitting in the presence cabinet and will begin building forward on this legislation that this committee has passed. we want to make caregivers possible, accountability possible, better health care for our veterans possible, assess ability for veterans who live in sparsely populated areas. we have done a plethora of things to improve the plight, the service and everything we give to our veterans in terms of services. some the senator and i are going to see to it that we put a cherry on top of that sunday and every day is a good day at the va. with that said i introduce our ranking member. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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our thoughts are certainly with the family of the veterans and certainly with the folks of georgia and with you because of what happened in georgia is not good news. it's not the kind of news we everyone here about a veteran in this country. just know that we are going to continue to work together as the chairman said to make the va all it can be. thank you, mr. chairman and robert, it's good to see you, it's good to have you here toda today. i appreciate your willingness to serve as acting secretary and i appreciate your willingness to step forward now during what i believe are unprecedented times of the va. if confirmed, and you know this, you will be tasked with ensuring that our nation's veterans have access to time and care and services, benefits both housing, educational and others that they have earned. you also be expected to treat every veteran regardless of
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gender, race, sexual orientation with dignity and respect they deserve. today this committee is here to determine whether you are the right person for the job. every new administration brings its own priorities and its own people to the table. that transition. can often lead to turmoil and confusion and can generate uncertainty inside and outside the agency. from my perspective, the va has always been above that fright. the sacred mission of state serving our veterans and their families has always transcended personal, vertical agendas or political affiliations. since i've been in this committee have been able to work with jim nicholson as closely as i worked with him and i work with jim peake as closely as i work with bob mcdonald. each of them were focused on how best to serve the veterans and they didn't allow politics to get away of the progress. recently we've seen them work actively to undermine the
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secretary and deputy secretary who unanimously confirmed that the senate. they are vacant within the va. while those same political ponies continue to collect paychecks under the va. worsening nonpartisan senior leaders and subject matter experts leave the va in unprecedented numbers. many are concerned that the sound policies and ideas are being increasingly marginalized to the extent of politics. we are seeing reform after reform in a manner that was inconsistent with congressional intent. we are seeing political interest groups given a seat at the table instead of veterans service organizations. nursing leadership, none who have been confirmed/out and in the last couple weeks the official media attack has attacked news as big news. the official media outlet has been attacked as big news.
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i hope that you agree that this type of behavior undermines the va's mission and it does a disservice to the millions of veterans rely on va services. i hope that everyone at the va who was watching last week when the senate voted 96 - 0 to reaffirm the independence of the va i g. federal agencies can be trusted to police themselves. veterans and taxpayers need to know that the va is not above the law. robert, i need to know that you are the guy who understands the va has larger challenges ahead, and i think you do. they simply cannot afford to get weighed down by errors. veterans are counting on them to implement the mention act and it needs to be done with more transparency than the accountability act. congress has provided ample time to roll out the mission acting get it done and get it done right. if it doesn't happen, the buck stops with you.
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congress and veterans will hold you accountable and i think you understand that. i'm already concerned department is as ready as it should for this monumental undertaking. for example, the va is supposed to be contracting for community care networks that will help facilitate veterans access to community care. those dates have been pushed back multiple times now. i'm concerned about that and i hope you are too. will also be counting on you to ensure that care inside the va is accessible and of the highest quality. congress is providing the va with tool after tool to better carry out its mission and by the leadership i might say of chairman isakson to provide those tools but far too often the va has failed to properly utilize the tools that deliver better outcomes for this absolutely needs to change but i will be looking to you as a person who is ultimately responsible to make this happen. robert, appreciate our working relationship and as i have
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told you recently, i believe you are straight shooter and i believe when confirmed, when confronted with a decision about what's best for veterans, you aren't in the best intentions for the question is how that decision will be impacted by the influence of others. whether talking about political appointees at the va or at the white house. sooner or later you will come to a crossroads with these folks. that's what happened to david chilton and tom bowman and numerous other folks who are no longer with the department. my only advice to you is to take the cues from the veterans, the folks were sitting in this audience and do what you think is right even if political forces threaten your job because i want you to succeed. i really want you to succeed. i think the veterans across the country, in fact, i know the veterans across this country want you to succeed. this post requires courage, honesty and integrity and a vision for the future, leading this nation's largest healthcare system is no small
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task. it demands the very best. i look forward to a discussion today and once again i want to thank you for your willingness to serve on behalf of this nation's veterans. thank you. >> thank you. i will now introduce senator tom tillis from north carolina for the purpose of introducing our nominee after which i will administer the oath and he will have his testimony. senator tillis. >> thank you, mr. chairman. chairman isakson, ranking member, distinguish members of the committee, i'm proud to introduce my friend and colleague robert wilkie as the nominee for secretary of the va. i've had the honor of working with robert for three years. sometimes he worked for me and many times i work for him. his combination of knowledge, humor, humility and heart has endeared him to all of my staff and the wars of north carolina constituents. many of them veterans and service members. robert was born in frankfurt
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germany. he literally grew up on fort bragg and he lived most of his early life on fort break or in fayetteville north carolina. he received his ba from and his jd from loyola college new orleans. he received his master of law from georgetown and masters in strategic studies from the united states army war college. he is an intelligence officer in the united states air force reserves today. previously he served in the atlantic intelligence command and joint forces intelligence command and he also served in the united states navy. he is long been regarded in washington and held in high regard in washington, especially here on capitol hill where he has developed close relationships with members on both sides of the aisle. he is also forged an excellent working relationship with the committee and the committee staff and he is universally recognized as a team player and a mentor.
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throughout his distinguished career he has also been a trusted advisor to some of the nation's most respected leaders including condoleezza rice, robert gates, donald rumsfeld and secretary mattis. frankly, given his depth of experience, i was pleasantly surprised and very proud to have robert accept the position with the newly sworn in freshman senator. it was clear to me from the start he was destined to serve the nation at a higher level. last year he received that call from the administration when he was nominated to be the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. robert demonstrated his extraordinary skills in just a few short months so as no surprise to me that the administration identified him as the perfect fit to become the secretary of the va. when he was appointed to the acting role as va secretary, he quickly worked to improve morale at the va earning strong reviews and trust and
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members of congress and the va staff. he moved to execute the electronic health record project which we all know is a critical part of the transformation and he also successfully pushed through the va mission act to the finish line. robert has all the education and professional experience required to be the secretary of the va. but perhaps what makes robert best suited for the job is his lifelong experience as an army brat and the personal experience of the son of a gravely wounded soldier and a servicemember. he is literally lived the experience so i know he will bring his professional experience and his personal insight and an intensity to the role that will soa serve our veterans well. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator tillis. would you please rise and raise your right hand and affirm your pledge.
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do you solemnly swear or affirm that the testimony you are about to give before the senate committee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? please be seated. please introduce your lovely wife julie. thank you sir. my wife julie is behind me. we have known each other since we were youngsters growing up in fayetteville and as you know mr. chairman she is a very strong georgia connection. her grandmother was from folkestone georgia. that's the real swamp. >> that's right. in 2006 and 22007. [inaudible] >> distinguish members of the committee on veterans affairs, this is the third time i have
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appeared in the confirmation chair. i mentioned how long have known my wife and of aspects of our in those early years is that our high school was about three blocks away from the fayetteville veterans hospital. every day on our way to from high school we would see a sign outside the veterans hospital that says that the price of freedom is visible here. : :
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they came home after an arm spending a year in the army hospital. that experience was on my mind when he was asked to come to va. as acting secretary i visited five va hospitals in eight week weeks, met with the combined leadership of our three major va components, benefits and visit our claims processing center as the treatment court. it was clear to me that the veterans population is changing faster than we realize. for the first time in over 40 years half of our veterans are now under the age of 65. of america's 20 million veterans, 10% are now women. the new generation is computer savvy and demands 21st century service. service that is quick, diverse and close to home.
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with the va to thrive as an integrated healthcare network, it must the agile and adaptive. more important as i mentioned to senator sanders in our meeting last week, i experienced what can and will never be duplicated in the private sector. that is the communal aspect, what does that mean? it means that when our veterans walk into any va facility they converse with men and women who speak the unique language of military service. what are the priorities? first improve the culture, offer world-class customer service. : : : >> when an american veteran
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comes it is not up to him to play the lawyers to say is that to them to say yes and that of customer service many of those issues that i countered as acting secretary but to get the veterans through the door to reach that care those problems of both administrative and bureaucratic alexander hamilton said the two trusts test of government is the aptitude to produce good administration that is where tee2 must go. with the electronic health to modernize veterans administration also the template to get started on the road to stability claims and to our providers in rural america and those with emergency care. that interoperability to
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connect t to t -- to the dod and with that continuum of care and to organize healthcare around the veterans. this is also our opportunity to turn the corner with the industry leader on opioid abuse and intervention and suicide prevention. with this transformation with our policies and procedures is essential if we are to move past that compartmentalized model this means reforming human resources to manage budgets transformation also means the robust partnerships through state and local communities to address homelessness plagued by the vietnam veterans who also
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suffer the highest rate of suicide. we have also pledged to help veterans transition to a new life of nonmilitary careers and if confirmed i will leverage the partnership with labor, small business administration and other agencies to carry out this pledge. mr. chairman as a said when the defense budget was past there are no more excuses. you have infused v.a. with a $200 million budget to pass the accountability act and the institutional virginia -- teach you but now the future is up to the department i would like to take the opportunity to close from president eisenhower five months from his inauguration
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many veterans were missing limbs somewhere horribly disfigured when he arrived at the p or the secret service ran up the plank to separate the president from his troops to see that heald halts i know these men. the soldiers gathered around the president those that could did stand there was nothing that the country could do for them what they had given to america but you never put your uniform away. remind your countrymen every day that freedom is never free. that is why v.a. must remind americans every day freedom isn't free. thank you.
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>> congratulations on your nomination as the statement the night before last before that with you yesterday i thought about what a compelling statement it was and how appropriate was for those challenges that we face i want to to have no equivocation of what we are looking forward to your getting an agency that has problems representing those problems that is in need of help that we are all proud of what to be proud of we have done everything we can to have accountability to respond to those questions they have had
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t9 excuses are no more we know the problems and what we need to do we stand ready to be right and have your back see that our veterans get what they fought for and risked their lives for and to reward them with the type of service so that is my one admonition i am on duty 247 if you call us don't wait for it to fester when you say customer service tell us what that means to use. >> customer service means that before the veteran walks into the door at the v.a. he has already been greeted through medical professionals with americans who are ready to
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serve him. i concluded in some of the debates this committee had a greatest problem that you saw was actually getting the veteran in the door. i have no doubt provide some of the finest care but i also understand getting to that care is something that the leadership of the veterans affairs department has to focus like a laser beam. world-class customer service is the key that ties into what we have talked about with your office in human resource management. the first people they contact schedulers want us they often leave after they are trained and i do believe it is incumbent on the secretary of v.a. to have long discussions with office of personnel
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management to make sure the secretary and those have the ability to adjust the pay scale so they are there at the ground level when the veteran comes to work treat him respectfully and stay in the job and learn what it means to talk to a veteran. >> mr. wilkie senator chester, bozeman and other members of the committee represent where they are long distances away sometimes fold days drive in some cases and as you may know on the debate with the markups a choice program that works is the key to that argument and that debate. if you work as hard as you can to look through those choices
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and the reality and the problem with the veterans not being able to reach those that they deserve and this goes to something that senator tester talked about that those of us even the 21st century do not understand the scale of the american west, in montana a normal journey could take 600 miles round-trip to get to the nearest v.a. facility so with those veterans and family caregivers and those that will provide access to services and with those that are close to home so the burden is not on them.
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because it was so rapidly implemented our providers were not paid. where veterans go to get emergency care. to make that part of the integrated community care network those veterans who live in the largest state geographically. >> thank you for being here mr. wilkie when you agreed to take this job are there any conditions attached? >> no sir. >> will you appoint your own deputies to carry out? be my guest sir. are you empower to do what is
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best for veterans even if you disagree with the president? be my guest are and i will say i have been privileged to work with some secretary rumsfeld and general mattis amy for their opinion and i give those to them or i would not be working. >> the acting secretary recently directed the secretary-general as a subordinate is that the appropriate? coming from military life the inspector general was the integral part of the organization i am not familiar
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but the ig is a partner not subordinate to the secretary and because of the work of this committee to have two prongs of what i would call the investigation and enforcement tool not only inspector general but the counsel as well as the whistleblower protection office. my vision is those work and beyond degree and v.a. suffered as everyone knows because the ig office at that time was not as diligent as it should be. >> you do not believe that works for you though?
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>> but that has been given assignments to the secretary. >> would you commit with the independence with the ig? >> not only do i commit to that but the inspector general's investigation even though i am a recovering lawyer. >> thank you. it has been a train wreck that is part of the problem with the choice act congress has provided a full year to implement the program with funding to get that program off the ground.
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any delays or snags, i don't think it will be accepted by this committee. implementation of the rules established i talked about the opening statement i have trouble they have been delayed with that ability to have a robust problem in falling right into the same pitfalls. on day number one when you get on the job as it applies to the act what you do to make sure this works? >> the last project i had before he had to leave returning to the department of defense was the integration of the three regional community
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care network so we are on schedule to be implemented by the end of the year. i did not get much beyond that but i will pledge to come back here if confirmed to give a report as to where that is because it cannot be delayed any longer. >> talking about getting her, i agree i had a venture interns in my office today that said if you could do one thing what would it be that there are 200 clinical vacancies in montana that is unacceptable what do you intend to do differently? it is a good healthcare system what you doing differently? >> first of all because of the
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size and complexity to fill the vacancies that you mentioned will not work and has the greatest need even on not a doctor as a primary care physician with the american west and medical professionals that specialize in the second part of that would be to finally create a holistic approach to veterans care. i was stunned visiting the sba and was told i was the first secretary they had seen in a long time. there's a lot of places in the federal government we can go to leverage resources particularly with those things we don't often talk about with
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that rehabilitation and job training. >> i appreciate your service to the country and on this challenging job. not because there were some good ideas with a proposal but with those protections of the previous choice act are no longer there anymore but you could get in with the doctor of your own choice. but today at the most recent count 53% of those veterans who initially applied for application for services are
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beyond 30 days. those folks no longer have that promise. >> you made it very clear you want to provide world-class customer service please share with those veterans out there the number of days they should expect to have to wait, if any to get in and how long will it take you to change that for more than 30 days that it is now that has a community care network that i was responsible for that reform in the waiting times of my military dependents as the v.a. did on many military installations.
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>> but that threshold question and say complicated question because what the veteran is seeking if it is a yearly physical and would not expect them to handle that in two or three days. and that would be the demand for 30 days is unacceptable it goes back to the continued mission act with the electronic health record system and it gets to that could put them into the system
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30 days is unacceptable so for the first time to do the triage question is the pharmacy or local doctor into that system. how long before they can expect to have that waiting time less than 30 days? >> that system will take several years. >> so what are we doing? if they are in excess of 30 days? >> those changes i will be advocating bridges in the appointment system will
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address those issues for those making the schedules for our veterans. we still have a computer system that does not and it does need to be updated when we can transfer into increments. >> i get what you are saying but i literally have dozens of providers in south dakota provided services to veterans who have never been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars that those that are still owed dollars have an appropriate avenue to be reimbursed for the services they provided as a veteran? >> thank you do make you said something in my office that
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was very compelling. you bring a huge perspective with a civilian leader and thank you once again for your service. last week you brought up a number of challenges you witnessed during your time as an acting v.a. secretary can you expand to your reference to blocking the post and how would you like to bring that to the v.a.? >> that is an ancient military term that requires the commander to walk amongst his troops. it dates from shakespeare. it is beaten into our heads from the times that we raise
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our hands. i'm not casting aspersions but i was amazed walking into the headquarters and being told i was the first secretary that many of them have seen. i mentioned in the statement that i gave it has to be a bottom-up organization anybody who sits in the secretary's chair the answer is to not be there to pull the pole over our eyes so that means talking to the people in the veteran who were using v.a. services to get out into the field. >> mr. wilkie a think of the right man for the job i thank you have a huge job ahead of you. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you for being here mr. wilkie and for visiting my office. let me be blunt and tell you
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my dilemma we discussed this a little bit last week. the veterans organizations in the state of vermont are quite proud of the v.a. they feel that everything being equal once they get in they receive high quality care to the best of my knowledge there is overwhelming opposition to the privatization of the v.a. to the american legion and all the major veteran organization we had a statewide meeting a couple months ago and all vermont veteran said everything you can to prevent the privatization of the v.a. the president last year introduced a budget calling for 1 trillion-dollar cut in medicaid over a ten-year period $500 billion cut in medicare. with congress wanting to end
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before the cataract. so we have the sentiment here that is not terribly in favor of public or government run healthcare and for all intents and purposes is a socialized healthcare system so we have the former secretary when he was fired by the president he indicated he thought it was because he wasn't moving forward on privatization as fast as the president had wanted. putting that into context. number one, do you believe in the privatization of the v.a.? >> know senator. >> will you vigorously oppose the various organizations are the president of united states to privatize the v.a.? >> my commitment is that i would oppose that.
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>> the difficulty is the devil is in the details. the chairman made a good point that i agree with that we both know that every day v.a. does phenomenal work all over the country and we don't just disagree with on this committee but as somebody has to travel 300 miles to get a physical checkup if they can't even get in their office or the services that they need of course they should be able to get local care. but the devil is in the details what happens if you have the v.a. they can walk in a prompt enter but somebody prefers to go to a private sector doctor number one and on top of that one of the reasons i voted against the
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bill to put $5 billion into the program but zero dollars into the v.a. so my fear is we will see a drip by drip the depletion of funds for the v.a. and then putting that into the choice program. how do you feel about that? >> senator you and i had a great discussion about this in your office. i believe in the centrality of v.a. with care. i will also say that there are things that v.a. does the let's go through the medical items that will never be replicated in the private sector like spinal cord injury traumatic brain injury rehabilitative services and prosthetics audiology and services you will not find that anywhere not even at the mayo clinic. but i do believe if we believe the veteran is central we can
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also make the argument that as long as the v.a. has a central point of care and the government has a day to day experience with the v.a. to walk through where they can help him with care if he immediately needs it, that reinforces the future of the v.a. >> i apologize. and i will ask a couple of questions do you support the full funding of caregivers. >> i am from the vietnam era one of the concerns is dental care that is an integral part of healthcare other than
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service-connected could you work with me to expand healthcare to dental care? >> and to explore that i don't know enough about it. road my understanding we have a hearing issue. >> i brought it up and i told you on the floor but i would assure you that the would have a hearing and it would be timely. and i have a couple other
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promises. >> you will have that chance. you have been to a few confirmation hearings when i say whether the virginia is working for veterans when veterans seek health it is suggesting we have to do more we have a steady stream and
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that when the veteran comes to the v.a. you want him that he or she ought not to get the virginia to yes to have the best opportunity you have to get the virginia to a position of yes that the department has created to serve. i want to highlight a couple of things in construction at leavenworth and wichita there are efforts afoot to create a partnership a partnership and
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the air force base and i raised those with your confirmation hearing because then i am back with you and those partnerships are what we ought to pursue into have a monumental task and to implement correctly with those number of cases on behalf of veterans but with the confirmation hearing with my predecessors when congress passes legislation which was intent to the letter of the law but with the
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implementation had you make certain that i have seen in my view so how can you overcome that? >> but to take a step back to tell you how i did at dod. as many of you now -- no with military issues and not to have any confirmed leadership. and then to send a signal to the congress that the organization was capable moving forward. and then to implement going
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back to fy ten. virginia has a problem as you mentioned it was catastrophic that had not implemented that exceptional member program through sexual harassment policy through the fy 13 bill and had not begun that full implementation i issued the directive for dod to carry out those programs now we have a sexual harassment policy and programs are moving out for the first implementation that
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i gave senator mccain i would get the list and then start moving up. and you raise the issue of vacancy to have a challenge to provide the medical services to fill those vacant positions yes i do. >> thank you mr. wilkie we appreciate you being here today i do want to express my concern about your opposition to equal pay for equal work and your passionate advocacy i
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will not ask you about at this committee hearings i will be submitting questions for the record because we have limited time i do want to get answers back in writing as part is the mission hacked with critically needed services with the veterans appropriation bill for the caregiver program and those that are above the president's request to start implementing this expansion to commit to those needed reforms and with the oversight of the operation it is extremely important if confirmed is this a top priority to fully implement as congress intended?
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>> absolutely. >> we will be watching. in those fertility treatments access to this care is important and can help starting a family but a promise to the veterans is difficult and if confirmed can you ensure additional providers are enrolled into the program to make sure veterans do have easy access? >> senator the new frontier for v.a. absolutely those issues that confronted and in response to the question to be spoken on those services that was just described.
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>> this is about veterans through no fault of their own i appreciate where he stands with privatization in her answer was important to all of us but i have heard from providers in my state so with the quality of care so to picture the same system that dod has experienced and what specific steps and to make sure care is not diminished.
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i got a lot of chris's own -- criticism to call i had the best mind from the west coast and to take a look at that. but that report i'm glad it didn't work. and i am head of the close combat task force and other weapons are tested but the testing of the system that is
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due diligence and they found the kinks when they started the beta testing. i would not commit to putting any program online and with those individuals implementation of this. >> so with a complex dod system that stopped when i went back to v.a. i picked up when i returne returned.
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>> can you get back to me and what steps you will take? >> what the senator has just brought up is extremely important. with the misadventures in life by governor from the department of education and with on software to keep up with the student information system my was not a computer expert but i will expect you and the backups continue but now you have a crisis in the
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lack of cooperation as what is required of them to put into the system. i'm sorry i interrupted. senator? >> thank you mr. wilkie for being here. when you take on a task like this with family affairs we appreciate both of you. we have a background we know that you will serve well in the job we are asking you to do as a military officer and a civil servant you understand the complexities associated with serving the nation to experience firsthand the importance of taking care of our veterans. we haven't been able to get together yet and i look forward to doing that but on
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the other hand i have enjoyed working on several occasions but i do support your nomination enthusiastically because of the experience i have had with you but i would like to visit with you we had a tragedy in arkansas the medical center greatly impacted a number of families in a negative way now all cases are under review but i am pleased to hear the initial response is being met with positive response from veterans and the call center having patient inquiries is working well we appreciate that concern from the team on the ground i think it really was a model how to respond so
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we appreciate that very much received doctor clarence here is been personally involved. so i guess i would like to follow up with but do i have your personal commitment to keep a close eye on the situation as it continues to unfold to ensure timely notifications that veterans receive timely follow-up care should they request that in the independent reviews are handled expeditiously while maintaining the integrity of the review process. >> yes or. >> senator bozeman also by referring back to it senator tester said, the response in arkansas on the tail and was outstanding because you saw coming together, the u.s. attorney, leadership of the
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v.a. and the state of arkansas that the problem obviously was terrible by the time you reach that and where senator tester was talking about a vigorous inspector general that is one of those areas without a robust inspector general we will have problems finding them. it ties into what the ranking member was saying and i appreciate that. into review those policies and procedures to enact if necessary those changes to prevent such a tragedy of this misconduct from occurring again. >> we appreciate that very much. also i think we all share the questions and the response
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that you had concerning that but what i would like to know is how the program is progressing now? and do you anticipate any additional delays or challenges to implementation? >> i don't anticipate any additional delays now but i do want to say that it can't happen overnight. it is a four-year implementation system for the caregiver network. veterans injured before 1975 there programs will be fully online i believe by 2019 and two years later those who come after the end of the vietnam war will be fully online.
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i will do my best to accelerate that but i have read a lot in the papers about this program happening overnight. this is a radical change in terms of the act of the mission for the v.a. is still taking the department of defense a while to get some tracking is much better than four years ago. but this is one of those programs that we will implement and i will give my full attention. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you mr. wilkie for spending time to talk with me and i ask any of the nominees the following questions have you ever made unwanted requests for sexual favors or committed any verbal or physical harassment of a
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sexual nature? >> no. >> have you ever face discipline or entered into a settlement for misconduct? >> never. >> i want to ask you about the project in hawaii and we did discuss this briefly as an island state veterans face unique challenges to access to care often times veterans need to fly from their island to honolulu if care is not available. if consistently fought for community-based care options for those living on the neighbor islands including the clinics. a total of seven outstanding clinic projects of various levels in the procurement process we have been monitoring including the future out patient healthcare access.
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and the clinic which i work to authorize with the choice axial can you commit table continue to provide updates on the status of these projects to make sure they are completed in a timely manne manner? >> i am very well aware of the unique challenges of hawaii and alaska and if confirmed i will take you up on your invitation to come see those. >> thank you very much. >> implemented a new sexual harassment policy early in your tenure and i commend you for that so the board came out with a survey of federal employees that the most people of instances of harassment of any federal agency. i assume this is a high priority for you and i will be in touch? >> yes and i will start by comparing what was done by my
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office at the department to what has been done. >> senator murray referred to a recent article in the washington post and had some questions for the record but when you were working for the senate majority leader on the draft resolution to call for equal pay for equal work some of the reports were considered rather offensive and condescending especially the provision you put in that calls on congress to require young women as a condition of receiving welfare those are your edits to the proposed resolution why did you make that resolutio resolution? to make thank you for bringing that up. i had to put on my memory cap to go back you that.
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i was the floor manager for the majority leader. senator lott instructions is that he saw every piece of legislation that came through. i was not an expert in that field i took it to him. he and the staff made changes. some of those changes i remember making that did not get put into the washington post story that senator lott as a leader wanted to recognize american women who chose to stay home. and also. >> i'm sorry. did you put in that edit? >> i don't remember. >> do you think it is a good idea to require young women to finish high school before they can receive welfare? >> i will not make that a requirement again i was just the floor manager i was not an
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expert. >> so women including veteran should finish high school to receive government benefits? >> that would never enter my mind. >> there were also other physicians because you worked for some very conservative people of course in addition to senator lott and senator helms they had sewn views that would now be deemed very offensive. so considering there are concerns about your own attitudes towards the kinds of use so would you welcome the scrutiny that you will have face based on your past editions to make sure you are treating women and minorities fairly and with respect as the head of the v.a. if confirmed. >> i say this respectfully i welcome the scrutiny of my
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entire record. the washington post seemed to stop at my record 25 years ago. if i had been with them at the time i don't believe i would have been able to work for condoleezza rice or bob gates or general mattis. i think i have had nine full field and fat and background investigations by the fbi the first question they ask me is this person someone who discriminates against anyone on the basis of race or sexual orientation or creed. they just finished an investigation going back to my h birthday so i will stand on the record. >> thank you for that reassurance mr. chairman. >> mr. chairman and mr. wilkie thank you for volunteering to
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serve again that was a very powerful opening statement one of the best i have ever heard of any cabinet nominee and i want to thank you for that. i fully intend to support your nomination and hopefully most of my colleagues for all my colleagues will as well. i appreciate you and the chairman already talked about world issues as i have said before there is rural america there is extreme role america then there is alaska. it isn't just the size i don't like doing this to the ranking member but he mentioned montana i think we are five times the size of montana but also the expanse if you look at what we talked about in our meeting the expanse of alaska to the lower 48 southeast communities would be northern
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florida area others would be like the northern part of north dakota and aleutian island chain would expand out to san francisco we are a continental wide place yet we do not have full service v.a. hospital in state of alaska but an incredibly patriotic population the highest number of included native americans 20% of my constituents who served at some of the highest rates in the military of any ethnic group in the country despite, let's face it during world war ii or vietnam a lot of discrimination going on from the federal government. we had a very good discussion and i appreciated that most of that was about these
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challenging issues relating to alaska. the first thing it would like from you is to get a commitment to come with me to meet with my veterans and see these patriotic americans first-hand the doctor did that with me i think that really did on -- made impact on him. >> i would be honored. >> line of the ways the v.a. extends its reach into parts of my state is through partnerships with health organizations called tribal sharing agreements with the v.a. many aspects of the mission act that focus on extreme world states like ours and others with the tribal sharing agreements that are mandated in the mission. can i get your commitment you
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will have consultation with the authorities under the tribal health organizations upon your confirmation with renewed negotiations for the v.a. tribal sharing agreements? . . . . you suggested and i couldn't agree more with you that when it comes to the needs of local veterans and in different states, often times, the local va really knows best. do you agree with that, still? can i get your commitment upon confirmation that you will come to alaska and consult with our
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local va leadership? i think again, one of the things we see here is we have challenges at the headquarters no doubt. but a lot of times, the va local leadership has worked quite well. can i get your commitment on that as well? >> yes, sir. >> i asked doctor shulkin this. i put out a post to a bunch of my veterans on questions they would like to ask you when doctor shulkin was up for his confirmation. we will submit a number of those for the record. one of the questions was from a guy by the name of bob tom's. his name is cajun bob. he lives in the valley in alaska. he is very well known in my state, beloved. but he's a little more well-known in washington. people probably do not know his name. but if you've been going down constitution avenue for the last six months and seen that giant portrait of a marine at
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the news museum, it is huge. it has a marine, he is counterattacking, he is a staff sergeant or a gunny. his commies are shredded, that is cajun bob. he received six purple hearts. in the marine corps. a silver star and in the battle, it is depicted. i think it is still up there in the news museum. go take a look. his question to me, a real hero among us, with so many we are proud of. was, the concern that we hear from so many veterans that there has been stories of senior leadership at the va not being held accountable for some of the actions they have taken. i think we try to adjust with the accountability act. but the veterans themselves feel sometimes are stuck in a system that works against them. not for them. he had a very basic question
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when doctor shulkin was up for his confirmation. i'm just going to repeat it. forgive the language. his bit of a salty marine but a hero. the question was, we be able to kick -- and take names for the veterans? for the veterans? above anybody else, if you're confirmed to be a secretary? and how will you do that? >> being an air force reserve officer we don't use things like that but -- [laughter] it takes away from other things. but, yes, sir. i was very proud and you can tell cajun bob when i was sworn into the pentagon, it was reference to the been born in khaki diapers. i think my attitudes toward that and leadership flow from having been in that world my entire life. >> thank you, i look forward to
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confirmation. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you senator. senator manchin. >> thank you. thank you for your service and contained desire to serve. as you can tell, we all proud of the veterans in our state. we want to make sure we don't move everything to alaska. [laughter] >> we still do not have a hospital so -- >> anyway, this morning there were 93 posts on the usa jobs posting for west virginia. i will tell you what we are going, we have full-time positions needed in petersburg, psychiatrist at martinsburg and huntington, social work core nader, registered nurse and at some of the facilities. we'll go ahead and submit everything for you. i just, i know we brought this to your predecessors before. what plan you have in recruiting. especially in rural areas? whether be alaska or west virginia, rural north carolina or nevada? all of our states, montana, what is your plan to get more
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people involved in helping us in the va with their expertise? >> yes, senator. i want to go back to experience i had with senator tillerson. when the ribbon was cut at the new va center. in my hometown. one thing that the directors asked senator tillis and was that one size job process does not fit va. fayetteville, north carolyn has very different needs from west los angeles and probably has different needs from west virginia. my pledge, and i think i mentioned it in my opening statement because i believe it. as to allow those medical directors and directors, the ability to move their funds to address the kinds of critical needs if they have the funds available. and we will work with them to
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make sure they do. to address the immediate medical needs in the areas. i have to do a deep dive senator, the whole usa jobs process. i can taste secretary mattis is thinking deeply about it. in terms of va and the va relationship with other elements. >> we are working with you on that because will have desperate needs. let me move on because my time is limited. the opiate epidemic that we have not only just in our states but in the military. how do you propose to have input on basically, not getting veterans hooked when they are deployed? and the treatment alternative centers when they come back. twofold. if we stop them from getting hooked and then how we will treat them in a non-opiate way when they come back. >> i responsibility for one end. right now. >> but we are asking for your
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input because you are seeing the end result. sometimes on the front end of lease prevent that from happening. >> yes, sir. and i think this is a case senator sanders mentioned. where va has taken the lead. va has come up with what appears on its face to be a very simple way of addressing this and bringing down opioid addiction. and that is with alternative therapies. the use of advil, tylenol and aspirin. in place of tylenol three or other opioids. the other thing va has done is emphasize rehabilitative care. dod is just getting on the cusp of that. so yes, i think dod is moving in the direction that va has moved in and it is absolutely vital that we stop. >> my final question will be,
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since 1998, the va budget has tripled $288.65 billion. with all these factors they can be pointed to the vietnam veterans getting older, the fact that combat medicine approved and therefore va is dealing with more complex injuries and illnesses than ever before. the cost of healthcare in the united states has become more expensive where we have expanded. an essay that we've expanded with good intentions. i had a lot of benefits. people are going to ask, are we making sure we get our best service and best care for our veterans with the box we are spending? my question would be, what steps you plan to take for the high quality services available for veterans and families and but also looking out for the american taxpayers to make sure that they are spending the money wisely and given the care that is needed. >> yes, sir.i will stop and say they're not any more
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excuses. i do believe though that you do have to make sure that the world-class health services priority health services are fully funded. i was asked about two questions by two members of the committee. to the point that does va is expansion in the community care mean that world-class services like spinal cord genetic are going to diminish? no. we go where need is greatest. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator manchin. >> senator. >> thank you. ranking member, thank you for this meeting and thank you for taking time for your family here today with you. i appreciate you being here and willing to spend time with us. you are in my office essay and we had a great conversation. i appreciate that time also. i think today is a different
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opportunity. yesterday was about you and me, today's about the veterans behind you. the veterans service organizations represented also the veterans back in nevada. and the point of course is to prove you're ready to manage an agency. of this size that is in my opinion, quite a bit of bureaucracy. i told you yesterday we have 300,000 veterans in the state of nevada. good man, woman, patriotic. we will take the call again regardless of age to serve and defend the country. and i'm pleased that we both have come to the same conclusion that they deserve the best quality care. and benefits that our nation has to offer. saying that, there's a lot to be done. we need va doctors, it's been mentioned several times clearly that national issue. and the veterans world cemetery and one of the rural counties. our caregiver program las vegas and the va nursing facility in rio. improvement and unfortunately veterans suicide issues remain
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quite a challenge in nevada. several times as i mentioned, the dr. shortages have been raised. i think nevada really felt the impact. especially in urban areas like las vegas and even in rural areas like elko, gardnerville. let me give an example. 2016, i was at the ribbon-cutting of a va clinic in pahrump. with all of the pomp and circumstances. here we are 2018 and they still don't have a full-time doctor. 2016, here we are, two years later. all of the pomp and circumstance for that community. they been waiting years to get this done. work by my office, myself, this committee, this congress to get that into that town and they still do not have, two years later they still do not have a full-time doctor. can i get your commitment to work with me to get a full-time
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dr. into that clinic by the end of the year? >> absolutely i will work with you on that. >> real problem is some of the rural areas with access to mental health services. for our veterans. can you share with me, you plan on bringing more doctors or mental health professionals to these rural areas? in nevada? >> i thank you for the time that you took with me. i think we have two take a deeper look at how we bring doctors into va. there have been many things that the federal government has tried on, in terms of recruiting doctors and i think va has to look at those. we have to do a better job recruiting doctors coming out of the military. i would like to learn about how we can get commitments from doctors to work to the va and
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this is my opinion. i have not cleared it with anyone. in exchange for their service, with va, do we go down the road where we take care of their medical school in exchange for long-term service with va? we do need to make an assessment. again, as to where we need our doctors. and we do need to also, in those underserved areas, look at how we incentivize people to go out there. the blessing i have is that i've been learning a lot about these things from carolyn clancy who is running the -- trying to address world need in particular. >> time is running out but one
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of the things that i want to steal from senator sullivan. the nevada veterans have been in the va system for decades. they know the ins and outs. they know the dues and don'ts. frankly, they know how to fight for their care. i'm allowed to make the same request that i can get you out to nevada so you can spend time with our veterans at a roundtable to discuss issues that are important to them. >> yes, sir i will be honored. >> mama question. this is about agent orange. i hear from veterans on this particular topic. especially from our blue water navy veterans. as you know, the va does not provide these bluewater veterans disability benefits that they deserve. after being exposed and experiencing these harmful effects. i think we can agree that this is not right. i do plan on helping the bluewater veterans as well as the veterans exposed to agent orange? >> i will speak to agent orange first. i am from the generation of who
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saw the effects of that on those who come back with vietnam. that is an experience from adolescence. that remains with me. on the bluewater issue, the house has spoken and it is my understanding that the issue will be taken up by the senate and i stand ready to answer any questions and good on any avenue this committee wants in terms of how we address bluewater. >> thank you. chairman, thank you for the time. >> thank you, senator heller. senator brown. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. thank you mr. wilkie i very much enjoyed the conversation and wish you well through the process. i expected to be confirmed and then as the new va secretary. yesterday the "washington post" ran a story about your time as a staffer for a very divisive,
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very racially divisive senator. you've been appointed to this job by a very racially divisive president. that being said, i will ask you this. the va secretary needs to serve all veterans regardless of race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation. just yes or no questions. we commit to doing that? >> absolutely. >> thank you. i worked with two previous secretaries to establish a history research national heritage center at that va. will you commit to the existing emily on this project? >> i do and i look forward to going to dayton. it is my geek mode. i just finished reading a biography of one of ohio's great -- and learned that dayton has been the center for va care for well over 140 years. >> thank you. thank you for saying that. we've heard reports that they
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cannot account for medical equipment, can you commit to get my office information on the missing equipment? >> yes, sir. >> thank you, sir. oh great concerns regarding the position of administer hr about privatizing healthcare and community care is necessary which is why we asked the va mission act however, va should not stipend funding from vha to expand community care. we commit to fully fund vha and stop efforts to privatize the va? >> i am opposed to the privatization of veterans affairs department. and will continue to make sure that vha is fully funded. >> thank you. both public and political -- low level employees with minimum offensive or not senior. this gives me great concern. will you commit to me that you will not use this authority to
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go after whistleblowers or individuals with limited offenses? >> absolutely, sir. >> thank you. i worked on that provision mission act to help with transparency peewee commit to publicly post vacancy data? >> yes. >> thank you. deeply the va has an obligation to provide medical care and disability compensation for veterans who have been exposed to toxic chemicals while serving our country? >> yes. >> thank you. we increase transparency with congress on the departments position on agent orange presumptive conditions on blue water navy veterans, eligibility for benefits and establish a process to diagnose constrictive bronchiolitis, a condition caused by exposure at the va? >> yes, sir. and i'll add transparency as key for this committee and the country. i know when my time with senator tillis, he had me working on the first efforts to raise the issue of --
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>> thank you. i enjoyed our conversation, as i said.the other day. i appreciate the work that senator tillis and i cosponsored some rebels together. i appreciated the work that you did in my office. thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. senator tillis. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i first want to thank you and ranking member tester because you a couple of years ago, encouraged and endorsed what became a regular meeting with the leaders of the va to track their progress. i specifically want to thank ranking member tester for always being there at every single meeting over the course of the process with the two secretaries. mr. wilkie i hope you have a commitment to continue that discussion because i think it was very helpful. mr. wilkie. i wanted to ask you something. i have, will not say the name
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of the newspaper. but i'm going to have the person reporting the story called me up. i spent probably 15 minutes, maybe as much is 20 minutes on the phone with him to talk about you. somehow, that insight was -- and much of your recent work history was not at all reported. mr. chair, without objection, i would like to submit an article that actually provides context written in 2002 that provides context for a statement that was asserted in the "washington post". i think it was out of context. >> without objection. >> there something else i want to ask you. and this may require that you have an incredible sense of history and a great memory. hopefully you will remember this. it was a recommendation in the nda a couple of years ago. at the time you are my senior advisor. and the specific amendment was related to providing same-sex
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spouses with veterans and social security benefits. you recall how you recommended the vote on that? >> yes, sir. i recommended that you voted yes. >> had to end up voting? >> you voted yes. >> thank you for the recommendation. there was also a reference, i know senator murray was going to submit questions for the record but i think it would be helpful here for some members who may not see that. i think you already brought up your role as a floor manager at the question on equal pay. but there was another reference to the confederate flag. i don't know exactly how senator hirono were to deprecate some of the context of the article mention here and maybe the broader context around the confederate flag. >> yes, sir. the article mentioned participation in events. there were three events. two sanctioned by the department of the army and department of defense.
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one by the speaker of the house. those events and in those days were big events. participation by senate and house members, i -- at the last one the only thing i did was introduce a fellow named maxwell the produce of the famous movie, gettysburg. i think president obama for his support of an event that celebrated america's veterans. union and confederate president obama brought, had a wreath delivered by the old guard of the army. the broader issue of the flag to address with the "washington post" said. i stopped doing many of those things at a time when that issue became and i do believe and i will say it, i heard this on memorial day.
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at this capital, at the memorial day concert. i think it was gary sinise pointed out 150 years ago, the first declaration to pay the most ferocious warrior in the union army said what this committee is not responsible for. we honor all veterans and we order flowers and wreaths place along the graves of union and confederate soldiers. our last statement on that i think they have the last word. and we celebrate veterans. >> thank you. you mentioned condoleezza rice, rumsfeld and matus and said that if you had in fact had any history and the sorts of behaviors this article put forth he would be working for them. is there any doubt that if i believe you had any of the history of behavior you would have a word for me? >> obsolete. >> you will do a great job as secretary. i leaned over and said i have
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got to make sure i let him know that enjoy the honeymoon because the floggings will begin soon. we need to make sure that we get you in there. you act decisively and have a sense of priority and are bringing resources in that will allow you to accelerate some of the transformation initiatives that you were briefed on. as you mentioned everyone of those meetings that we had over the past few years also included mr. wilkie. her keen insight into what works and what we need to accelerate. i know you have a commitment and will bring the intensity necessary and then lacking for quite some time. look forward to working with you in your new capacity. i wish you very well. >> thank you very much. thank you, mr. chair. >> senator, we have a couple more questions for you. i have a few and so to senator
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tester. i would like you to tell me, in your position as undersecretary of the army, but major accomplishments as undersecretary are you proudest of? and how does that experience prepay for what you are about to take on? >> thank you, sir. first of all, i mr. nearly proud that secretary matus some of his stature asked me to serve. i'm very proud that the office of under secretary of defense for personnel readiness is now in place for many people want to work. i mentioned walking the post and transformative leadership in that. i believe that is begun to happen. in terms of accomplishments, employing the exception of family member program for the 132,000 military families who have children with exceptional needs, autism, mental health issues, cerebral palsy, getting the reform of the defense
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health agency. so we no longer have three independent health services. army, navy and air force. we have a defense health administration. and sexual harassment and assault policy which sends a clear message. that the military of the united states has changed. that everyone who signs up for service deserves dignity. and protection. and finally, to show how pnr has moved the secretary of defense has empowered my office to take charge of what he considers to be his most important project. that is the close combat task force. that is the task force that takes a very deep look into how we train, equip and fight our front-line forces. our infantry forces. we are 85 to 90 percent casualties take place. coming from secretary matus, there's probably no greater
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assignment that anyone can have. i am honored he gave me the responsibility to help. >> your knowledge and your testimony earlier, that you'd be surprised how many people at the va told you they'd never seen the secretary in that part of the building before. >> yes, sir. i can say one of first things i did when i was chairman was go visit the va here and go on the floors. i found the same thing. they'd never seen a member of congress either over there. i don't think much changed to improve that. all the problems we have with morale at the va, it may be the biggest single problem. you and i have talked about morale change when pompeo went to the cia. how much it improved after difficult times ahead. that will be your biggest challenge with senator tester and i had to back you up. anything you can do on morale issue we are looking forward to helping you do. to build morale at the agency. thank you, sir. >> lastly, i would like to ask i guess -- to submit for the
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record a letter signed by a member of the united states military retired. a former joint chiefs of staff, forbade deputy chief staff and six major flag officers of the united states military. all with endorsement of your position. i submit this for the record. >> thank you. >> senator tester. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for being here again today mr. wilkie. the electronic medical records we've been talking about, i would just say that i'm encouraged that -- you know what the goal is. but i have concerns about how the va communicating plans to congress for this modernization. it is a price tag of $16 billion. and we have a ton of leadership vacancies that will impact this moving forward at least, i
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believe. for example, there's no permanent deputy secretary, no undersecretary for health, no deputy undersecretary, no assistant secretary. and no deputy in oit. the question is, who do people on the committee held accountable for this program? other than yourself? >> that is the be-all and end-all. coming from my world, there is a think admiral nimitz said if you can't point to the person in charge no one is in charge. so that is me. i pledge to the committee i will move as rapidly as i can if confirmed. to get those people in place. i mentioned doctor carolyn clancy. as executive in charge of the vha. cannot have anybody find her doing that. the process is moving along because of people like her. but i do pledge that i will be talking with you all about filling those jobs.
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>> so, do you folks in mind right now? >> i don't have a list, sir. i have to be honest with you. >> that is perfectly fine. the chairman and i talked about doing oversight hearing. it is really tough to do an oversight hearing on the va because there is no one to hold accountable. and you need to have some oversight. quite frankly, i think you'd appreciate it. there was a situation that happened. probably over a year ago. where folks were told not to respond to requests made by committees. there's never been a problem on this committee. it's never been a problem with previous leadership. but i still have to ask it. if you are asked for information we be as transparent as you possibly can to give the information to anybody on this committee who or anyone in the senate for that matter? >> absolutely, sir. i was raised in this institution and a take article 1 seriously. >> okay. when it comes to requests
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there's a couple ways to handle it. people can either turn over the information or they can slow roll it. if confirmed, we require that employees comply with any information act in a timely manner? >> i will demand that you comply with the law. and with requests. >> okay. carumba. blumenthal is coming. i will give you my closing statement right now. okay? you've got pretty good at this. confirmation, i don't know how many times you've been in front of a committee to be confirmed but you ain't a rookie. you not only answered questions but you anticipated questions
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as good as anyone had ever seen. in front of a committee. not that i've been here all that long. but, i would just say that i, as others, believe you're going to be confirmed. i do not know if i would say it will be a public flogging but you will be held accountable. and i do not, i think that is our job to make sure that things are moving. you are representing veterans because that is where we take our cues from. and so it's going to be really important that we have a strong leader. you've got a lot of challenges in front of you. i would just say that i think you have the tools to do the job. and i don't think it's going to be easy. i think it will be rough waters. on occasion. but in the end, i think there is good communication between you and the members of this
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committee. particularly the chairman and myself. i think we can smooth a lot of those rough waters. >> and i thank you for your courtesy to me. >> thank you, senator tester. we informed senator blumenthal that we will leave -- would you respond as quickly as possible so that he gets those? will be in the process of moving towards a confirmation vote sometime in the not-too-distant future. the quicker you get those answered the better off. if you will do that i will appreciate it. >> absolutely. >> i would like to thank julie for being here. your lucky merit a great lady. she sat there the whole time and she had your back the whole time. i want to thank everyone, our vso's. you've been part of this from the beginning. and for members of the committee, thank you for your questions. and during the time they have
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spent here and what they have done to make this successful. we all got each other's back. we will all work hard to make the va better than ever before. we stand adjourned. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> the confirmation took late last month in the senate veterans committee. and monday the senate will vote on his nomination to become the president second va secretary. mr. wilke was nominated to replace david shulkin was fired
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in march. live coverage of the debate begins monday at 3:00 p.m. eastern. with a confirmation vote at 5:30 p.m. . you can always watch the senate on c-span2. >> here's a look at our prime time schedule on the c-span networks. starting at 8 pm eastern on c-span, highlights from today's national governors association summer meeting. including discussions on racial equity and women in leadership. on c-span2, national intelligence and homeland security officials look at how to protect consumer data and infrastructure from cyber attacks. and on c-span3, acting veterans affairs secretary, peter o rourke testifies unimplemented the va accountability and whistleblower protection act which was signed into law june 2017. also tonight, health insurance experts talk about state responses to the individual health insurance market. the event is hosted by the alliance for health policy. it airs tonight at 9:30 p.m.
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eastern here on c-span2. >> c-span washington journal. live every day with news and policy issues that impact you and coming up saturday morning, citizens against government waste thomas schatz discusses the fun is the 2018 congressional pig book which looks at ways of government spending. as part of the alaska weekend coverage, the interior department and fish and wildlife reporter talks about various federal proposals to change hunting regulations in alaska. and axios energy and climate change reporter, amy carter on climate change and how it is affecting alaska and other parts of the united states. be sure to watch c-span washington journal live at seven eastern saturday morning. join the discussion. >> saturday is the final day of the national governors association summer meeting in
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new mexico. governors attending a discussion on collaboration with state and federal governments as well as the importance of art and history education. live saturday at 12:15 pm eastern on c-span. >> join us this weekend alaska weekend. with featured programming on c-span booktv and american history tv. we will explore alaska's natural beauty, history, culture and public policy issues facing the state. saturday morning on c-span, washington journal axios energy reporter, amy on climate change in alaska. sunday morning, the executive director of the national congress of american indians discusses native americans and native alaskan issues. on the communicators saturday at 6:30 pm eastern. the general counsel for alaskan cable provider, gci talks about how the company makes broadband possible for small villages
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across tundra, glaciers and mountains. incoming president of the alaska collaborative telemedicine and telehealth, christopher dietrich on providing healthcare through telemedicine to remote communities in alaska. then on booktv, saturday at noon eastern. the c-span cities tour explores the alaska literary and historical theme with dermot cole, author of amazing pipeline stories. the president of the heritage institute with her book on alaskan natives celebration and sam jones, author and former anchorage daily news investigative reporter, on the 1989 exxon valdez oil spill. sunday at 9 pm eastern, on. "after words" talking about -- on the alaskan coast. on american history t.v. on c-span3. sunday at 2 pm eastern. the c-span cities tour visits the alaska state capital.
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the alaska native heritage center and will look at preparing seafood for market from alaska glacier seafood incorporated. at 4:30 pm on reel america, watch four documentaries on alaska. the 1936 film, alaska silver millions. the 1949 film, eskimo hunters in northwestern alaska. the 1967 film, alaska centennial. and the 1944 film, alaska highway. watch alaska weekend saturday and sunday july 21 and 22nd. on the c-span networks. at or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> in the coming weeks, the house will take up several bills making changes to the 2010 healthcare law peter sullivan of the hill, you been writing there are real political considerations to the debate. why do republican leaders in the house want to take up these bills? >> that's right. i think


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