Tester Meets with VA Secretary Shulkin to Outline Agenda

(U.S. Senate) – U.S. Senator Jon Tester today sat down with newly sworn-in VA Secretary David Shulkin to outline his priorities as Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

“As Secretary Shulkin takes the helm at the VA, it’s important that we have open lines of communication so we can ensure our nation’s veterans are getting the care they have earned,” said Tester. “I look forward to working with Secretary Shulkin to reform the Choice Program and speed up veterans’ access to care. We also must address the VA’s workforce shortage and make sure that veterans aren’t taking the brunt of the President’s hiring freeze.”

Tester asked Shulkin how he would address the impacts of President Trump’s hiring freeze on veterans. After successfully pressing the Administration to exempt certain positions from the hiring freeze, Tester is calling for the entire VA and all veterans seeking federal employment to be exempt.

Tester also pushed Shulkin to commit to reforming the Choice Program before its expiration date in August, and finding a way to hold poorly performing employees accountable without undermining the due process and morale of the VA workforce.

The Senate unanimously confirmed Shulkin on Monday. Tester attended his swearing-in ceremony at the White House on Tuesday.