Confirmed: Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary & Dr. Shulkin as VA Secretary
|President Trump watches as VP Pence swear|
in Steve Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary next to
Mnuchin's fiancée Louise Linton - Feb. 13, 2017
After some opening comments by President Trump, Steve Mnuchin was sworn in by Vice President Pence at the White House.
David Lawder writing for Reuters noted, "Lawmakers, lobbyists and business groups have been waiting for Mnuchin to fill in the many blanks on how he will pursue tax reform and handle delicate economic cooperation efforts with China, Mexico and other trading partners worried about President Donald Trump's "America First" trade strategy.
Mnuchin faces immediate challenges with the March 15 expiration of a U.S. debt ceiling suspension, ushering in the threat of a new default showdown, and a March 17 meeting of finance ministers from the Group of 20 major economies, where he will face tough questions about Trump's plans to increase trade protections."
Today the U.S. Senate also confrmed Dr. David Shulkin by a vote of 100-0 for Secretary of the Veterans Administration. Shulkin was serving under the former Obama administration official was the VA's top health official since 2015. He is the first non-veteran to lead the VA.
The AP has been cited by several news sources with the additional info about Dr. Shulkin and the VA:
"You're not going to hear me asking for a learning curve," Shulkin said at his hearing. "I don't have a lot of patience and I am going to be serious about making these changes and regaining that trust."
The immediate challenge includes revamping scheduling and access for VA medical appointments following a 2014 wait-time scandal. Shulkin is urging a more integrated VA network where veterans could seek outside private care only in coordination with the VA. He has not sketched out full details.
"We've yet to hear from him how he'll pursue President Trump's vision for a public-private partnership at the VA," said Dan Caldwell, policy director for the conservative group Concerned Veterans for America.
Shulkin also will have to address long backlogs for veterans who apply for disability payments — he calls its appeals system "broken — and grapple with the White House's order of a 90-day federal hiring freeze. According to Shulkin, the White House agreed to exempt 37,000 out of 45,000 VA vacancies, but major veterans organizations say much more hiring is needed to eliminate red tape.
Tags: US. Senate, confirms, Steven Mnuchin Treasury Secretary, David Shulkin, Secretary of Veterans Affairs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!