Top senator says cost-cutting culture fueled veterans scandal

Senate Budget Committee Chair Sen. Patty MurraySen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said in an interview that Washington’s cost-cutting culture helped spark the growing Veterans Administration hospital controversy by encouraging VA officials to understate their financial needs both internally and to Congress. Murray, a top appropriator and former chairwoman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, had strong words for a department that not only faces chronic management issues, but also consistently underestimates its funding needs and the how many veterans will seek care each year. Though many Republicans have called for current VA secretary Eric Shinseki to step down from his post in light of reports of secret waitlists at VA hospitals across the county, Murray focused on cultural issues that extend deeper than one official.

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