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GOP Reacts: Obama Cares More About Obamacare Website Than Veterans

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"They deserve more attention than a failed website."

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 21: President Barack Obama makes statement to the news media about the recent problems at the Veterans Affairs Department in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House May 21, 2014 in Washington, DC. Obama continues to express his concern over reports from current and former Veterans Affairs employees that some veterans had died while waiting to receive care. Rob Nabors, a White House deputy chief of staff, was dispatched to investigate deaths allegedly connected to a Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Phoenix, Arizona. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Republican leaders in the House and Senate on Wednesday immediately dismissed President Barack Obama's speech about his effort to resolve the VA healthcare scandal — including the top Senate Republican, who said Obama's remarks make it clear he cared more about the Obamacare website than the health of veterans.

"When the website for Obamacare wasn't working, President Obama publicly and repeatedly pledged to get it working," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). "I'm disappointed he has not pledged as loudly and as repeatedly to do the right thing for our nation's veterans.

"They deserve more attention than a failed website," he added.

President Barack Obama's speech about the VA's healthcare problems was not well-received by Republicans on Wednesday. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Obama's White House speech showed that pressure on the administration to resolve problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which VA admits contributed to the death of more than 40 veterans, is still building. But Obama didn't announce anything dramatic and instead said he wants to see the VA Inspector General's report on the issue before making any decisions.

Obama said he met with VA Secretary Eric Shinseki this morning, but in his remarks, Obama did not say he would look for a change in leadership at the VA, as many have demanded.

Obama said he would "not tolerate" problems of ensuring veterans have access to healthcare services, even though those problems have been known for years. He also said officials would be held accountable at the VA, but was not more specific.

The lack of any concrete announcement led to heavy GOP criticism, including from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who said Obama is "known for talking about accountability without ever holding anyone accountable."

"The President has paid sparse attention to this crisis or the veterans impacted," Cantor said. In contrast, he noted that the House later Wednesday would pass a bill making it easier for Shinseki to fire people involved in the scandal.

"Today, the House will pass a bill that gives Secretary Shinseki the authority to terminate the employment of incompetent senior leaders at the VA," he said. "The Senate should pass it swiftly so President Obama and Secretary Shinseki can start utilizing that authority. Time is of the essence, for the sake of our veterans who deserve better."

 

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) also called on the Senate to quickly pass the House bill.

"I urge the president to call on his party's leaders in the Senate to act on this bill immediately. The president has made a lot of promises to our veterans.  It's time to keep them."

Several other Republicans tweeted out their own reactions to the president's speech:

 

 

 

 

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