Isakson, Tester Applaud Committee Approval of Dr. David Shulkin as VA Secretary

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, today applauded the bipartisan committee approval of David Shulkin, M.D., to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Following today’s unanimous committee vote of 15-0, the nomination now moves to the full Senate for a vote. Isakson and Tester support a swift Senate vote to confirm Shulkin as VA secretary.

“As I stated in last week’s confirmation hearing, I believe Dr. David Shulkin is the right person to head up the VA,” said Isakson. “His prior experience will prove indispensable when making the reforms necessary to the Veterans Choice Program and the appeals process, among other critical priorities. Today’s unanimous committee vote signals the broad, bipartisan support that I hope we can look forward to in his confirmation by the full Senate.”

“Dr. Shulkin has committed to fixing the Choice Program and getting our veterans timely access to the quality care they have earned,” said Tester. “I look forward to working with Dr. Shulkin and will hold him accountable to the pledges he made during the confirmation process. I believe Dr. Shulkin’s bipartisan support from the committee is indicative of the vote he’ll receive on the Senate floor, and I am calling on Senate leaders to confirm him in a timely fashion.”

Isakson chaired a committee hearing to consider the nomination of Shulkin to be secretary of the VA on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017.

During the hearing, Shulkin, who has served as under secretary for health at the VA since July 2015, pledged to work with Congress on reforms to the Veterans Choice Program and to improve accountability at the VA.

Amid concerns from veterans’ advocacy groups and members of Congress, Shulkin also pledged that he will not seek to privatize the VA or divert additional resources away from VA facilities.

Prior to his VA service, Shulkin spent nearly two decades as a hospital administrator in the private sector.