New nominee for the post of Secretary for Veterans Affairs, Retired Army Lt. General James Peake spoke to Congress on Wednesday. General Peake promised to be a willing advocate for veterans and to be forthright and honest with Congress if he is confirmed as the new Veterans Affairs Secretary.
His comments were well received by members of the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee who were interviewing him for the Secretary of VA affairs post. The Senate will likely vote before the holiday adjournment.
Leading Democrats on the VA committee want a person who is willing to at times fight within the Bush Administration for attention and money to address a growing list of Veterans issues. They are asking Peake – who is a decorated Veteran himself from the Vietnam era, if he is up to the job before him.
“I believe I can be tough,” said Peake. “My primary job will be to go to bat and fight for veterans, and I can do that efficiently and effectively I believe,” stated General Peake.
When questioned what he would do if Bush administration staff tries to give veterans a bad deal, Peake said he would argue for more money and if he were unsuccessful, then he would be honest and open with Congress about money gaps.
Peake would spend the final year of the Bush administration heading up a department with a number of major challenges.
If he is confirmed General Peake would face backlogs of complaints about medical appointments, benefit claims, and other new generations complains from combat veterans.
Peake’s nomination seems virtually assured unless something new and startling arises.