WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump is considering the former chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Veterans Affairs Committee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs after his previous pick
withdrew under fire, a White House official said on Wednesday.
Trump will interview Jeff Miller, a fellow Republican from Florida who served in Congress from 2001 to 2017 before retiring, for the VA post this week, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Miller currently works as a lobbyist for the firm McDermott Will & Emery.
White House physician Ronny Jackson, Trump’s personal doctor, withdrew from consideration for the job after facing allegations that he had been lax with providing prescription drugs and drank alcohol on the job.
Representatives for Miller at the firm did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Miller did not immediately respond to request for comment by email.
A former state lawmaker, Miller took on the Veterans Affairs committee chairmanship in 2011 and targeted benefit claim backlogs at the department as well as waste and mismanagement.
He headed the panel during the VA’s controversy over long wait times for veterans to receive medical care that led to the 2014 resignation of Democratic former President Barack Obama’s VA secretary, Eric Shinseki.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump pledged to clean up the VA, which oversees healthcare and benefits for about 20 million military veterans, a constituency with considerable political clout. Trump fired his first VA secretary, David Shulkin, in March after concerns about unauthorized travel expenses.
Reporting by Steve Holland and Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Will Dunham