Seven Democratic senators up for reelection in November have said they believe Veterans Affairs secretary Eric Shinseki should resign over revelations that his department severely mismanaged treatment of veterans at VA hospitals that may have resulted in the deaths of scores of veterans across the country.
So far, the list includes Mark Udall of Colorado, Al Franken of Minnesota, John Walsh of Montana, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, and Mark Warner of Virginia. Martin Heinrich, the other senator from New Mexico, has also said Shinseki needs to go. Furthermore, Democratic Senate candidate Bruce Braley of Iowa, a sitting House member, has called for Shinseki to step down.
What about Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana? A Begich spokeswoman emails to say that the senator will be holding a press conference on the topic later Thursday afternoon, though she did not clarify if the Alaska Democrat would be calling for Shinseki's resignation.
The offices of Pryor and Landrieu have not yet responded to requests for comment from THE WEEKLY STANDARD on the issue of Shinseki's continued employment at the VA.
Begich, Pryor, and Landrieu are all facing tough reelection battles in their respective states.
Update: The Associated Press reports Mark Pryor says he does not believe Shinseki should resign. From the AP:
The two-term lawmaker from Arkansas told reporters Thursday that he wants more information on how widespread the systemic problems that an inspector general's report revealed about the VA. Pryor said he also wants to know whether similar problems exist at Arkansas' veterans' facilities.
Update II: James Hohmann of Politico reports Jeff Merkley of Oregon also says Shinseki should resign:
Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley calls for Shinseki to resign.
— James Hohmann (@jameshohmann) May 29, 2014
Update III: Mary Landrieu of Louisiana now says the VA needs "new leadership":
Shinseki served our nation with distinction but recent unacceptable actions under his watch regrettably means new leadership is needed
— Senator Landrieu (@SenLandrieu) May 29, 2014