CT lawmakers lean on Harry Reid to schedule Schwartz VA vote

Connecticut Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Linda Schwartz

National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs

Connecticut Commissioner of Veterans Affairs Linda Schwartz

Washington – Members of the state’s congressional delegation told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday they are tired waiting for a confirmation vote for Linda Schwartz, the head of the Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs, who has been tapped for a top VA job in Washington by President Obama.

In a letter about Schwartz that was also sent to Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, the members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation wrote “our veterans desperately need her leadership.” Reid will make the final decision on the timing of a confirmation vote.

The VA is embroiled in scandal because some VA facilities hid records of long wait times for care.

“…It is a moral obligation of this Congress to put in place qualified leadership to effectively guide the Department and prevent such misconduct,” the delegation letter said. “This is why we are writing to urge you to expedite the confirmation of Commissioner Linda Schwartz’s nomination for the Assistant Secretary of Veteran Affairs for Policy and Planning.”

Schwartz, 69, a Vietnam vet and former nurse who was chosen by Obama last year for the Department of Veterans Affairs job. Her nomination has been approved by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, but a confirmation vote by the full Senate has not been scheduled.

Democrats say Schwartz is the victim of a GOP slowdown on nominees. Republicans say Reid preferred to move judicial nominees and other high-profile nominees, leaving Schwartz and others on the back burner.

There was no immediate response from Reid’s office to the delegation’s letter.

 

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