Head of Veterans Affairs Quits

Secretary's short tenure long on scandals and other woes
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 17, 2007 3:47 PM CDT

(Newser) – The secretary of Veterans Affairs, the head of the second-biggest federal department, is stepping down and will be replaced by October 1, reports the Washington Post. For 2½ turbulent years, Jim Nicholson, a decorated Vietnam vet and former RNC chair, presided over a department beset by criticism and overwhelmed by the flood of service members returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Under Nicholson, the VA's problems have ranged from lost paperwork to the Walter Reed hospital scandal, the New York Times reports. He had been in the job just 5 months when he was forced to ask Congress for an emergency appropriation of $2 billion because budget estimates that predated his tenure underestimated demand for the department's services.