President Joe Biden’s pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, Denis McDonough, appeared before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Wednesday for his confirmation hearing.
Watch the hearing in the player above.
The former Obama administration White House Chief of Staff was questioned by Senators who were concerned about the impact the transition would have on the Department of Veteran Affairs to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
Committee Chairman, Senator Jon Tester from Montana, said “there’s simply too much at stake,” for uncertainty inside and outside the agency that manages veterans’ care.
Tester said the VA had tested nearly 1.3 million veterans and employees for COVID-19. “And now there are more than 8300 veteran families who are without their loved ones, including the more than 3100 VA is cared for within its facilities,” he said.
McDonough testified that President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden take the duty of caring for veterans seriously, because they “are members of a proud military family.”
“If confirmed, I will dedicate myself with every fiber of my being to fulfilling what President Biden rightly refers to as our country’s most sacred obligation: to prepare and equip our troops that we send into harm’s way and to care for them and their families when they return,” he said.
McDonough was also asked to support veteran caregivers and address the issue of veteran suicide.