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House Veterans Affairs Committee Issues Subpoena

The House Veterans Affairs Committee has stepped up its action in the investigation of problems at the Veterans Hospital in Phoenix. The committee held a hearing in Washington on Thursday morning about the allegations of as many as 40 vets who died waiting for appointments on a separate secret waiting list.  

Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, a Florida Republican said the panel is issuing a subpoena, to get information from the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

“The last few weeks have been a model of VA stonewalling, which precipitated the need for this subpoena,” said Miller.

Miller said he received an unsatisfactory response from his inquiry to the VA after waiting several days.

“Yesterday, May 7th, I received a response from VA that does not, does not fully answer the very simple questions that I asked. Therefore, the time for requests for this matter is over,” said Miller. 

Miller says those delays are what triggered this morning’s subpoena from the committee.  Hospital Director Sharon Helman and two top staffers have been placed on administrative leave, while an investigation by the Office of Inspector General takes place.

Maine Representative Mike Michaud, the ranking minority member of the panel, says the subpoena is limited in scope so it does not interfere with the ongoing Inspector General‘s investigation.

Hospital Director Sharon Helman, and two of her top aides have been placed on administrative leave, while the Inspector General’s investigation takes place.  

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki is promising to get to the bottom of reported problems.  He tells CBS the controversy makes him 'angry', but he brushes aside calls for his resignation.