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Ahead of upcoming confirmation of new VA secretary, a check-in on the Department of Veterans Affairs




WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 17:  Acting Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie delivers a brief statement during the daily news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House May 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 17: Acting Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie delivers a brief statement during the daily news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House May 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

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The second-largest federal agency has been without a leader for close to 4 months. And later this summer, the Senate will vote to confirm VA secretary candidate Robert Wilkie.

The 55-year-old Wilkie is an Air Force reservist who currently deals with military personnel policy under the Trump administration. He’s known as someone with deep DC ties.

Wilkie handily won the endorsement from the Senate VA Committee earlier this month. His confirmation by the full Senate is all but certain.

Wilkie will fill the spot left open by David Sulkin, who was fired from the post late March. Trump’s initial choice to replace Shulkin end in disaster. That nominee, White House physician Ronny Jackson, eventually withdrew from consideration, after allegations surfaced that he had contributed to a hostile work environment at his previous job.

The Washington Post is reporting that Trump loyalists are reshaping the staff of the VA in anticipation of the arrival of Wilkie.

Guests:

Lisa Rein, reporter covering federal agencies and the management of government in the Trump administration at The Washington Post; author of the piece looking at the VA shuffling ahead of Wilkie’s likely confirmation; she tweets @Reinlwapo

Leo Shane III, deputy editor and Capitol Hill bureau chief at Military Times; he tweets @LeoShane