Denis McDonough: What to know about Biden’s VA secretary pick

Lisa D. Small

President Biden entered office environment Wednesday with out any cupboard associates by his side, as they await affirmation hearings in the U.S. Senate.

Cabinet users in the Biden administration will be faced with uniting the various sectors of the U.S. government throughout a time of division. But in an attempt to quit the partisan divide in and outside of Washington, Biden vowed to nominate “the most varied Cupboard in record.”

A number of of his picks have currently manufactured background, with the initially overtly homosexual guy to be selected as Transportation Secretary, together with the to start with Native American woman as Secretary of Inside – an endeavor by the Democratic president to set up a Cabinet that displays the diversity of the nation.

Some of Biden’s picks have lifted eyebrows, including his selection to guide the Section of Veteran Affairs, a $240 billion agency having difficulties under a sexual assault scandal and a reputation of insufficient veterans healthcare.

If confirmed by the Senate, Denis McDonough will become only the 2nd non-veteran to serve in the roll.

Who is McDonough?

The before long to be Secretary of Veteran Affairs might not have any navy or healthcare working experience, but he is no stranger to the White Household.

McDonough got his 1st flavor of serving in the highest office environment in the U.S. as a senior adviser on overseas plan affairs for President Obama’s changeover team in 2008.

He then served as the Chief of Workers of the Nationwide Security Council ahead of becoming the Deputy Nationwide Security Adviser for Obama – serving in the role during the 2011 Navy Seal raid in Pakistan that resulted in the dying of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

He became Obama’s Main of Staff members in 2013.

What has he accomplished?

McDonough was reportedly instrumental in bridging divides in congress to aid get the Veterans Choice Act passed in 2014, according to the Washington Post. The act, which President Trump attempted to claim some credit for, enabled veterans to request suppliers outdoors of VA clinical facilities.

Biden was also reportedly amazed by McDonough’s immersive attitude by regularly checking out troops in the industry and checking on the Walter Reed National Armed forces Clinical Heart, although he served in the Obama administration, claimed Politico previous thirty day period.  

How do veterans feel about him?

The previous Obama-era formal has caught some veterans off guard who have been hoping to see a article-9/11 veteran fill the situation.

“We are shocked by reports the President-Elect Joe Biden intends to nominate Denis McDonough to develop into the upcoming secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs,” American Veterans (AMVETS) Nationwide Executive Director Joe Chenelly advised Fox Information in a statement very last thirty day period, right after Biden to start with produced his announcement.

“We had been expecting a veteran, perhaps a publish-9/11 veteran. Perhaps a woman veteran,” he ongoing. “Or maybe a veteran who knows the VA extremely properly.”

But Jeremy Butler, chief govt of the advocacy group, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of The usa, applauded McDonough’s official nomination Wednesday — although he noted the worries the secretary would face if verified — not minimum of which is guaranteeing veterans get access to the coronavirus vaccine.

“Excellent to see the roster of [Department of Veteran Affairs] leadership coming jointly,” Bulter claimed in a tweet Wednesday. “I assistance the nomination of Denis McDonough as the future Secretary but there is no denying that he will need to have a powerful and experienced staff to master from and help him meet the needs of the nation’s veterans.”

What he options to do

McDonough stated that he will prioritize “making our VA far more welcoming to all veterans, including our females veterans, veterans of coloration and LGBTQ veterans,” claimed the Army Instances.

Biden has claimed he wants to increase the VA funds and to bring in more healthcare experts, which includes clinical officials from the private sector, in buy to boost the treatment that veterans can count on to receive.

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The previous Obama-period formal claimed he will work to rebuild veteran’s have confidence in in the VA system by bettering the agency’s administration and accountability.

“The agency billed with meeting the desires of veterans should not be confined by outdated applications and methods,” he wrote in a individual pledge revealed by Navy Instances in December. “Our veterans are worthy of the ideal we as a nation have to offer you.”

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