While announcing that he'd accepted Gen. Shinseki's resignation, President Obama took the time to lay blame on the Bush administration:
This predates my presidency. When I was in the Senate I was on the Veterans Affairs Committee. I heard first hand veterans who were not getting the kinds of services and benefits that they had earned.
The question that prompted President Obama's response asked what responsibility was properly placed on President Obama. Initially, President Obama said that he takes responsibility for what happens in his administration. Those words were barely out of his mouth when he deflected responsibility to the Bush administration.
The truth is that President Obama won't take responsibility for the VA crisis. And yes, it's legitimate to call this a crisis.
The simple truth is that he's just admitted that he's known about this crisis for almost a decade. Let's remember how little time he spent doing his job while campaigning for president. That means it's likely that he heard about the VA crisis in 2005-06.
Now that he's admitted that he's known about this crisis for almost a decade, the next question should be about why he hasn't proposed a substantive fix to this crisis. It isn't that he didn't have the opportunities. Each year, presidents have a captive audience. It's called the State of the Union Address.
All it would've taken to fix the VA's problems would've been devoting a significant part of his speech to the issue, followed by telling Harry Reid it was a high priority for Democrats to momentarily drop the partisanship with Republicans to fix the problem.
A couple reminders in the next month would've sent the message that fixing the problem was a high priority item with his administration. Instead, the American people didn't hear a think from the administration.
Now that Gen. Shinseki has resigned, it's time to focus on what's broken with the VA system. The highest priority needs to be increasing the voucher budget so vets get the care they need ASAP. Everything else can wait. The next thing on the list of high priority items is to have the Senate pass the House bill that lets the VA Secretary fire people who weren't doing their jobs or who were corrupt.
Third, Congress must tell the VA administrators that they'll never get another bonuses. Period.