Military Times - Senators overwhelmingly approved Robert Wilkie as the next Veterans Affairs secretary on Monday, but the move came with political dissent for the first time in the department’s 30-year history.
The final vote of 86-9 wasn’t enough to seriously jeopardize Wilkie’s chances of taking over as the 10th VA secretary. But it did mark the first time since the agency became a Cabinet-level department that any senator has voted against a nominee for the top VA job — a post that usually rises above partisan congressional fights.
All of the opposition came from Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Earlier this month, Sanders said he would not support Wilkie’s nomination because of his distrust of President Donald Trump’s policies towards veterans medical care.
“Trump has been very clear about his desire to move to the privatization of the VA,” Sander said, “and I suspect any of his appointees will try and move the agency in that direction.”
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