Senate veterans affairs chairman upbeat about VA nominee Robert Wilkie

Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson gave an upbeat assessment Monday of Robert Wilkie, the acting secreta...

Posted: May 22, 2018 11:17 AM
Updated: May 22, 2018 11:17 AM

Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson gave an upbeat assessment Monday of Robert Wilkie, the acting secretary of Veterans Affairs, whom President Donald Trump unexpectedly announced Friday would be his nominee to fill the job permanently.

"I am very excited I think he is a great choice," the Georgia Republican told CNN during a brief interview in the Capitol.

Isakson said he will hold confirmation hearings for Wilkie the week after next, when the Senate returns from its Memorial Day recess. He said the top Democrat on the committee, Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, had agreed to that plan.

Isakson was cautiously optimistic there will be broad support for Wilkie both in his committee and the full Senate.

"I assume that but I don't take it for granted so we'll make sure," Isakson said.

Wilkie was chosen after Trump's first choice to lead the troubled agency, Adm. Ronny Jackson, who was then then the President's physician, dropped out after a series of serious allegations surfaced regarding his professional and personal conduct.

"I've learned to say there's never no 'other issues,'" Isakson said referring to Jackson's problems. "That's why we're going to do the due diligence that we need to do in the committee, which is what we did on Admiral Jackson and hopefully the results will be better."

Isakson praised the choice of Wilkie.

"He's got a lot of strengths in areas we need them right now and he's a proven entity so I think he will be good," the senator said.

Isakson's comments were more positive and went further than a statement Friday when he said he wanted to learn more about Wilkie's "long-term goals" for the VA.

"Sen. Isakson has had a number of positive meetings with Undersecretary Wilkie in his capacity as acting VA secretary," said Amanda Maddox, a spokesperson for Isakson explaining his thinking. "The chairman has been impressed with his willingness to work with Congress on shepherding through the VA community care legislation that is currently pending before the Senate."

That bill, which is designed to allow veterans to seek care from private health care providers if they can't readily get it at a VA facility, passed the House last week and is expected to pass the Senate this week.

A spokeswoman for Tester said he's looking forward to meeting with Wilkie.

"Senator Tester has met with Wilkie several times, but not since being nominated as permanent Secretary. He plans on meeting with him right after this next recess," said Marnee Banks, a spokeswoman for Tester.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 766351

Reported Deaths: 13965
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1052671804
Lake568691028
Allen42858698
St. Joseph37286568
Hamilton37260426
Elkhart29729470
Tippecanoe23441230
Vanderburgh23153404
Porter19568327
Johnson18807391
Hendricks18059321
Madison13518345
Clark13502198
Vigo12817255
LaPorte12558224
Monroe12529178
Delaware11124198
Howard10654237
Kosciusko9751123
Hancock8734149
Bartholomew8256157
Warrick8053157
Floyd8005181
Grant7349181
Wayne7234201
Boone7173105
Morgan6904142
Marshall6329116
Dubois6270118
Cass6085111
Dearborn600078
Noble597890
Henry5944111
Jackson515677
Shelby509897
Lawrence4914127
Gibson461596
Montgomery457592
Clinton454555
DeKalb453685
Harrison452476
Whitley415345
Huntington414081
Steuben410260
Miami405073
Jasper400455
Knox388091
Putnam384662
Wabash368783
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White339354
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Wells302781
Greene292985
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Fayette285864
Posey280935
Scott278758
LaGrange277172
Clay273148
Washington253537
Randolph247583
Jennings238649
Spencer237931
Fountain234850
Starke229959
Owen222259
Sullivan219543
Fulton207845
Jay202832
Carroll197122
Orange190956
Perry189739
Vermillion180044
Rush177327
Tipton172347
Franklin171935
Parke154816
Pike141434
Blackford137832
Pulaski123648
Newton123036
Benton109615
Brown105943
Crawford105516
Martin92515
Warren87715
Switzerland8328
Union73510
Ohio58311
Unassigned0428

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1122647

Reported Deaths: 20467
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1302911493
Cuyahoga1171502259
Hamilton823481259
Montgomery534491059
Summit488581014
Lucas43734832
Butler39936614
Stark33800937
Lorain25996509
Warren24896312
Mahoning22685612
Lake21457396
Clermont20368260
Delaware19120138
Licking16842227
Trumbull16786491
Fairfield16762207
Medina15832276
Greene15499254
Clark14339308
Portage13417218
Wood13338201
Allen12043245
Richland11726213
Miami10998228
Wayne9251227
Columbiana9196236
Muskingum9119137
Pickaway8738123
Tuscarawas8714254
Marion8703140
Erie8126166
Ashtabula7272179
Hancock7044134
Ross7012165
Geauga6948153
Scioto6679108
Belmont6210179
Lawrence5917104
Union590449
Jefferson5723162
Huron5630122
Sandusky5482130
Darke5436130
Seneca5376128
Washington5362111
Athens526560
Auglaize507087
Mercer490685
Shelby481297
Knox4609112
Madison447266
Ashland443198
Defiance438499
Fulton435775
Putnam4351104
Crawford4110111
Brown409662
Preble3946107
Logan391679
Clinton389266
Ottawa375581
Highland365068
Williams356478
Champaign348360
Guernsey330254
Jackson321254
Perry298350
Morrow294643
Fayette288250
Hardin279165
Henry276967
Coshocton272561
Holmes2725102
Van Wert251665
Adams249258
Gallia249250
Pike244637
Wyandot235257
Hocking222663
Carroll201249
Paulding179442
Meigs151040
Noble137739
Monroe137545
Harrison115238
Morgan111524
Vinton87217
Unassigned03
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