President-elect Joe Biden is nominating Denis McDonough, who was Obama’s White Home chief of workers, as secretary of the Division of Veterans Affairs, a sprawling company that has introduced organizational challenges for each events over time. However he by no means served within the armed forces, a reality famous by a number one veterans group.
McDonough is an skilled supervisor who was chief of workers all through Obama’s second time period. McDonough was beforehand Obama’s deputy nationwide safety adviser, together with through the Navy SEAL raid in 2011 that killed al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, and was a longtime congressional staffer.
McDonough was credited with serving to Obama attempt to bridge divides on Capitol Hill, together with round certainly one of his most substantial second-term legislative achievements: the Veterans Alternative Act. The laws, for which President Donald Trump tries to take credit score, gave former service members extra choices to hunt care and the VA secretary extra authority to fireplace underperforming staffers.
The invoice took place following exposes through the Obama administration into mismanagement at some VA hospitals and mounting complaints by advocacy teams. As chief of workers, McDonough was additionally deeply concerned in an overhaul of VA management after the scandals, which led to the ouster of the division’s secretary.
“We’re shocked by this decide. No solution to deny that,” stated Joe Chenelly, nationwide govt director of AMVETS, or American Veterans. “We had been anticipating a veteran, perhaps a post-9/11 veteran. Perhaps a girl veteran. Or perhaps a veteran who is aware of the VA exceptionally properly. We’re wanting ahead to listening to from President-Elect Biden on his pondering behind this nomination.”
McDonough’s spouse, Kari, co-founded the nonprofit group Vets’ Neighborhood Connections, which helps veterans and their households develop stronger ties to their communities.
Biden is balancing quite a few priorities as he fills out his Cupboard, together with making good on his pledge to have a various group of high advisers. That is created some tensions over high jobs, together with agriculture secretary.
Allies of Fudge made no secret of their want for her to guide the division, given its oversight of meals stamps and different applications meant to deal with meals insecurity — certainly one of her longtime priorities. As an alternative, Biden went with Tom Vilsack, a longtime pal and advocate for Democrats paying extra consideration to rural America.
A transition official stated Vilsack and Fudge spoke Wednesday to put the groundwork for cooperation between their two companies on these and different initiatives.