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House Veterans Affairs chairman: ‘This is just the tip of the iceberg’

Vets

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee said Thursday he’s aware of information that could further escalate the recent scandal involving the Veterans Affairs health care system.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla. “I know there’s more to come. We’ve received some information and some tips that will make what has already come out look like kindergarten stuff.”

Miller declined to give specifics, saying they’re giving that information to the inspector general’s office to help with an independent investigation.

His committee is expected to grill senior VA officials at a business meeting on Capitol Hill on Thursday after months of allegations of cooked books, a secret wait list and cover-ups in the VA system.

The controversy has mushroomed since CNN first reported the problem in November in a detailed investigation examining several VA hospitals.

Miller said he was disappointed by statements made Wednesday by President Barack Obama, who emphasized that he wants to go after anyone who actually carried out improper practices at the VA instead of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

But Miller said he’s not necessarily pushing for the secretary to step down immediately.

“The secretary’s resignation is putting a Band-Aid on a wound,” he said. “We don’t need to just put a Band-Aid on this. We need to have a surgical procedure that fixes this so that it serves the very people who have earned the benefit by wearing the uniform of this nation.”