WASHINGTON (AP) — In the latest prep work for a presidential campaign, Rand Paul is conspicuously courting moderate and establishment Republicans while Ted Cruz keeps up a travel schedule that has 2016 written all over it. Jeb Bush is stirring from something of a political snooze and a half-dozen other credible prospects are getting their voices heard in the din.
By Phil Stewart and David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top health official at the Department of Veterans Affairs resigned on Friday amid a scandal over allegations of deadly healthcare delays, but critics dismissed the gesture as "damage control" because he planned to retire this year anyway. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said in a statement he accepted the resignation of Dr. Robert Petzel, VA undersecretary for health, and acknowledged the need to ensure more timely treatment of America's military veterans. The White House said President Barack Obama supported Shinseki's decision. Petzel's resignation, which came a day after he and Shinseki testified before Congress, appeared unlikely to calm the anger over the scandal, with one critic rejecting the move as "damage control" and the American Legion renewing its call for Shinseki himself to step down.
The Senate is expected to vote next week on Stanley Fischer's nomination for vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, securing his spot ahead of the May recess. Locking in Fischer is a key step in replenishing the Fed's governing body, which has an unusual number of vacancies at a sensitive time, as the central bank faces several critical measures for U.S. monetary policy. The Senate is likely to hold an initial vote on Tuesday to proceed to consider the nomination, setting up action for a final confirmation the following day, according to a Senate Democratic aide. But it appeared unlikely that the Senate would act next week on two other pending Fed nominees: U.S. Treasury official Lael Brainard, 52, and current Fed Governor Jerome Powell, who has been nominated to serve another term.