Senators considering a delay for VA confirmation hearing

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senators were discussing plans to delay the confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump’s pick to be Veteran Affairs secretary over growing questions about the nominee’s ability to manage the government’s second-largest department.

The hearing for Ronny Jackson, Trump’s White House doctor and a Navy rear admiral, was scheduled for Wednesday.

"I think there may well be a need for more time, in fairness to Admiral Jackson, so he and the administration have an opportunity to answer these questions fully and fairly," he said.

White House and VA officials were also discussing a delay with key allies outside the administration

A spokeswoman for Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., the committee’s chairman, did not return requests for comment.

Trump selected Jackson to head the VA last month after firing former Obama administration official David Shulkin following an ethics scandal and mounting rebellion within the agency. But Jackson has since faced numerous questions from Republican and Democratic lawmakers as well as veterans groups about whether he has the experience to manage the massive department of 360,000 employees serving 9 million veterans.

"We’ve got 360,000 people there," he said. "Are they going to manage the secretary or is the secretary going to manage the VA? That’s a good question to ask, and he needs to answer it. He needs to be the leader. A lot of folks want to be led and managed."

Rounds said the committee still needs more paperwork from the White House on Jackson before the nomination can go forward.

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