WASHINGTON (CBS4) – The day after calling for his resignation, Rep. Mike Coffman is again taking Veteran Affairs Secretary David Shulkin to task over hospital construction.

Rep. Mike Coffman (credit: CBS)

Shulkin testified before the House Veterans Affairs Committee on Thursday.

VA Secretary David Shulkin (credit: CBS)

Coffman, a Republican who represents Colorado’s 6th Congressional District and sits on the committee, pointed out the people who are overseeing the construction in Aurora of the new VA Hospital — as well three other projects that are well over budget — still have their jobs.

TIMELINE: Events & Delays: New VA Hospital In Aurora, Colorado

“The people who have their fingerprints over this stuff are the same people who are there,” Coffman said Thursday morning. “I want to encourage you without legislation, if it requires it then we need to move it forward, that you need to find these people another job —
hopefully somewhere outside of the federal government.”

(credit: CBS)

“You’ve been very vocal on that and I think you’ve been right,” Shulkin said. “There is no excuse for these past projects and we cannot continue to do business as usual.”

Coffman also criticized Shulkin for taking his wife on a taxpayer-funded 10 day trip to Europe.

That criticism comes after the VA’s inspector general released the results of an investigation into Shulkin’s trip.

“It’s exactly corruption and abuses like this that doesn’t help our veterans. @SecShulkin must RESIGN now. @realDonaldTrump ran on accountability, it starts here,” tweeted Coffman.

An inspector general’s report that said the chief of staff for Shulkin altered an email and made false statements to a department ethics official that led to taxpayers covering expenses for Shulkin’s wife on an official trip to Europe last summer.

Vivieca Wright Simpson, Shulkin’s chief of staff, altered language in an email regarding the logistics of the trip that led to the department paying $4,312 in airfare for Shulkin’s wife, Merle Bari, according to the report.

In a response to VA’s Inspector General Michael Missal dated February 12, 2018, Shulkin called the portrayal of the trip “overall and entirely inaccurate.”

“Your staff’s conduct related to this investigation reeks of an agenda,” he said. “Your portrayal of this trip is overall and entirely inaccurate.”

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. CNN contributed to this report.)


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