McCain 'Confident' VA Reform Bill Will Be Bipartisan Effort

GOP senator from Arizona demands Secretary Shinseki's resignation as head of Veterans Affairs.
3:00 | 05/28/14

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Transcript for McCain 'Confident' VA Reform Bill Will Be Bipartisan Effort
I'm Michelle Franzen and New York an inspector general reported interim report of veterans affairs medical facilities is found serious systematic problems. That are putting patients at risk of getting quote forgotten or lost -- system. There are now 42 medical centers under investigation and while -- conclusions were offered in the report. The Phoenix hospital has reported wait times averaging 115. Days for the first appointments. Let's go to Phoenix Arizona where Senator John McCain is holding a news conference. -- neglect and failure to Perrier -- obligations to our. That terms. The inspector general report which -- -- -- and I just received. Makes several comments that are very disturbing. One of them is in the report I quote from the report. 1700. Veterans who were waiting for primary care product appointment. Or not the electronic waiting list. Most importantly. These -- continue to be at risk. Of being forgotten or lost. In the Phoenix house. Health care systems. Convoluted. Scheduling process. Inspector general found that the VA reported that BA itself reported. A sample of 226. Veterans. Waited an average of 24 days however. Inspector general report -- these reports. And found that they actually weighed in on an average of 150. Days. For their first appointment. He -- Inspector general report states they have identified instances of manipulation. Of the -- data. That distort the legitimacy. Reported waiting times. And they went on to say. They've received numerous allegations. Daily of mismanagement. Inappropriate hiring decisions. Sexual harassment. And bullying by mid and senior level. Managers. At the Phoenix -- house. It's very disturbed. -- sent a letter. From some days ago to secretary nation's shaky. And ask him about this entire issue particularly this week -- allegation. I received a response to him. To provide media that basically said that when the new leadership came on board they initiated -- initiated consistent application. They -- change the use of electronic waiting folks in other words saying the -- everything's fine. We know the -- That letter that. General change shinseki sent me was absolutely false. And so. And the inspector general report said that. That delaying medical care to veterans and manipulating records to hide those -- -- quote systemic throughout. The Department of Veterans Affairs. So therefore today. I believe that this issue which reached a level. That requires the Justice Department involvement. If these allegations. Are not -- Administrative problems these are criminal. We need the FBI and the Department of Justice to be involved. In this investigation. I also was some. Reluctance believe that it given the lack of responsiveness. Secretary shinseki to numerous -- inquires. -- -- and mean that it's time. Secretary nations seeking to step down. An -- sector -- -- does not step down voluntarily. And I call on the present -- stage to relieve him of this news fight. Well thank you Senator McCain -- we've. And on this for a while writing letters two generals and -- asking him about these allegations. The information that we received back does not comport. With the information in the IG report today. Join Senator McCain calling for -- -- second to resign. And -- does not resign -- the president asked for his resignation. And also. That justice needs to be involved now. We have instances. In that this report that came out today. Where the information supplied to the VA headquarters. Was not correct information. It was that this was. Information in terms of wait times that they knew was not correct. So you have to I think at this point call for Department of Justice Ian Paul. And investigate as well so. There are a lot of good people that the CIA who worked very hard. And that we cannot have. The situation like this persist so thanks. And obviously you know better yourself you feel as though. Actually -- while. -- do you plan. Back in 2008. When I ran -- the president United States access that we need to give the veteran of flexibility. From obtaining health care. Where he can he or she can obtain the health care. Most. Wouldn't that health care that they feel that they need and can be provided best if that means -- the veteran -- rather than getting in a van. Driving all the way of writing all in Phoenix and could go to a health care provider. -- -- We need to -- -- flexibility for the veteran. If -- go to -- place where they can get the best health care and the shortest period of time and in the most efficient fashion. And rather than these unconscionable. Delays such as we have seen now even far worse actually ever. Thought they should part about how we're proposal that senator flake and I. And virtually all of the Republicans in the United States senate wouldn't be bringing forward. Probably early next week. Will be a set of proposals ranging from the ability to hire and fire people and NBA. To giving the veteran flexibility perhaps even hard to go and get the place of health care. That he or she needs. In the most efficient fashion. So we are. For a long time I have been advocating reform in the BA. But now this all has been -- to have never before we have allegations of forty people -- But we have had allegations all along of inefficiencies from the VA now it's time to fix it soon. -- -- Shortfalls in -- below the level they were doing his reporting live now -- -- and so on. Why do you feel it's time for the director sector there it. Warren is because -- now allegations from some 26 facilities although all over the country. Second -- -- general shinseki. Did not give us an accurate response. To our inquiry. When you ask for information from an agency of government. And that information was false then the person responsible for that should be held responsible. For most importantly. Is it now. Given -- -- these allegations. And the seriousness of them. -- There's a huge credibility problem. Of the VA with the veterans. We are hearing from literally hundreds of veterans they have lost confidence. The DA and their ability. To get the health care that they have -- Then it seems to me that that leader. Of the person responsible for their health care should be replaced Chester. Well just put on that point. There was a memo went around in 2010. Explained some of these methods used. To manipulate data on scheduling times. That was known by headquarters circulated around. And -- it was we were made to believe we're told that that have been text that was not curry. With this administration now and in -- it has been and looks to be accelerate. -- if there's any chance that your view -- will be more bipartisan. Yes yes I'm confident that it will be. Factors -- we've already had discussions with Democrat senators. For example senator Blumenthal who happens had two sons in the military. A number of others -- there will be this will be a bipartisan effort. But so far amongst at least some in the democratic leadership. They have not given us the issue I think with the urgency that it cures hopefully. Our proposal will pick up. Not normally support from other senators -- from the American people I have never seen an issue. This strong reaction from the people of Arizona either whether they're associated with some military veterans are not. As I've seen on this issue they demand action. And they demand that -- Senator some of the allegations it. You're listening to Senator John McCain along with senator Jeff flake -- talking about the NBA's incher. Inspector general report. On problems within the VA system we're joined now by ABC news political director Rick Klein Rick this news breaks today Republicans quickly responding here. Calling for secretary shinseki to resign in one case for attorney general Eric Holder to conduct a criminal probe what is the White House's most likely path here. The White House is now said excuse statement ABC news saying the president is concerned by these findings. Still -- on the full investigation to come out general should -- Investigation in edition to edition inspector general's investigation but something has changed in this tenor. Around this scandal just in the last that twelve to 24 hours and the calls for general should -- -- Resignation from -- as VA secretary have escalated he's seen a number of prominent Republicans led by senators McCain and -- who joined that chorus. Number of Democrats coming out saying these are serious allegations -- need to be addressed BC beginning. A little space to. General -- sacking to resign on his own before the president will be forced the fire and I think it's fair to. To assume at this point that it did -- his tenure as secretary are most likely numbered it's hard to imagine. Being able to weather this given the the in the searing indictment inside this report the allegations. That much more widespread than we thought before the idea that didn't even now some members of veterans are not even begun not even be on the wait time. Because they were improperly entered the system that the idea of this shadow scheduling system that was out there throughout the entire time. I was under the McCain is saying that generals is that -- answers were or were misleading. In response to congress so a major change I think in terms of the pressure on general and -- to -- And based on this interim report there's also -- a lot of blame brick thrown around do we have a sense yet why these delays occurred. And when they started. The concern now is it that -- -- systemic and that's something that the report talks about that -- there was systemic inside Phoenix also and other branches more than forty separate investigations of different VA branches that are now they are the the allegation from the start was that. This was a weakened in odd system that people did this because they knew that the superiors in Washington didn't want to know the truth. That it papered over that they can move along in terms of promotions in terms of pay raises and alike by just going and going along with a separate set of books. From the beginning and the -- this was taking years as well separate from the backlog issues that are so well documented this is all. Is separate and above and beyond the fact the you have this influx of veterans from the last two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last ten or twelve years. Entering the VA system add to that generation's worth of veterans who are getting older and needing to access the services. So this is just a lot bigger than we realized before and going on for a longer period of time than anyone has previously been able to document and of course now there's been legislation on the hill last year to expand funding to the -- what happened with that. This is about more than funding although there had been some -- in getting full funding for -- -- this is. If the allegations here -- and are not about a VA that is strictly under -- it's about widespread corruption. There's even a -- in this in this report about other allegations sexual harassment. Intimidation in the workplace that's all now opened up it looks like a big mess at the VA which is. The they have more employees than any other cabinet agency of the federal government it is just getting worse -- the -- the sizing by the day. And again acting what has changed in the last day in with this interim report is a realization. That this is not something that is easily contained you can't just say it's the Phoenix office he can't say the VA has gotten out front of it if they're still leaving now not able to document the extent of the problems. And there's also been a push -- Senator McCain to privatize the VA is a scandal getting wrapped up in a bigger economic debate here. In a political debate that's a long running one in this Senator McCain made reference to -- something he talked about as far back as 2008. Whether it's full privatization or some kind of voucher system where you be able to go to private hospitals. It has long been a Republican led -- to allow veterans to go outside the VA system and find private care. When appropriate and this is that some were seen that with the administration open up a little bit be even in the last couple days of responses scandal -- -- say that this is something that needs to be done. But that's where becomes a larger political issue as well -- that the Democrats and that this administration. Traditionally the party that will say look government can can provide services and effective way this undercuts that argument a major way and that's why you house Republicans led by Senator McCain now saying. It is appropriate for veterans -- the go outside the system. We've also seen a political ad tags of the situation who's being targeted there and what else are re going to see on line. Senator -- baggage of Alaska is the first targeted by Americans for prosperity -- the -- Brothers. Funded group that ties -- to -- scandal president Obama's. It's via scandal in their -- in addition to that -- the Republican National Committee launching primarily an online campaign against I think about ten. Democrats and putting pressure on them to -- calling them -- for not. Saying that -- -- -- he should resign linking them to the scandal the politics of this I think -- have fallen into place a little more clearly. Then in the last couple of days and weeks of this scandal. So Rick we have the interim report do we know when the final report is expected is there a deadline. There are a number of deadlines to look for general should -- these report now is out there we have an internal rob neighbors report from the White House this coming as well. The biggest report those likely to be inspector general's report and that is that's the one -- really can't ignore that's the internal watchdog agency. That is expected in August and that unity of the general should -- he still has a job by then and that that could be the baseball hall. ABC news political director Rick Klein thank you. Thank you this has been an ABC news digital live coverage of the VA hospital scandal. Keep up with this story in real time by downloading the ABC news happened starring the story for exclusive updates on the go. For now I'm Michelle Franzen in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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