As expected, the Senate confirmed former Procter & Gamble CEO Bob McDonald to take the helm of the scandal-plagued Veterans Affairs department. The vote was unanimous at 97-0, after Sen. Thad Cochran switched his vote from no to yes.
McDonald was expected to skate to a confirmation, especially since Republicans like him. During a hearing last week with the Senate's Veteran Affairs panel, Republican Sen. Jerry Moran said McDonald's "candor, sincerity and commitment to serving" veterans impressed him, according to ABC News. His resume also helped: McDonald is a veteran, a West Point graduate and has 33 years of experience at Proctor & Gamble, where he oversaw a staff of 120,000. At the VA, he'll deal with a staff of 340,000.
When McDonald starts, he'll likely have $17 billion in newly approved funds to work with. Congress announced yesterday that it had struck a deal on a bill to assist the VA, including funds to help veterans at backlogged facilities seek private care and $5 billion to speed up the hiring of doctors. The bill also bans bonus for VA officials through fiscal year 2016.
McDonald will replace former Secretary Eric Shinseki, who resigned on May 30 after calls from lawmakers following revelations that patients had died waiting for appointments at VA hospitals, and officials were forging wait lists to receive bonuses.