The Latest: Senate panel delays hearing for Trump VA pick

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The Latest: Senate panel delays hearing for Trump VA pick
The Latest: Senate panel delays hearing for Trump VA pick

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s pick to be secretary of Veterans Affairs (all times local):

10:15 a.m.

A Senate committee says it has delayed Wednesday’s confirmation hearing for Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s pick to be secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Spokeswoman Amanda Maddox cites growing questions from lawmakers over Jackson’s qualifications.

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee was scheduled to hold Jackson’s hearing on Wednesday.

Trump selected Jackson to head the VA last month after firing former Obama administration official David Shulkin following an ethics scandal and mounting rebellion within the agency. But Jackson has since faced numerous questions from Republican and Democratic lawmakers about whether he has the experience to manage the massive department of 360,000 employees serving 9 million veterans.

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9:20 a.m.

The White House is standing behind Ronny Jackson, President Donald Trump’s choice to be Veterans Affairs secretary amid growing questions about his qualifications.

Spokesman Hogan Gidley is praising Jackson, who is Trump’s White House doctor and a Navy rear admiral, for serving as a physician to three U.S. presidents, both Republican and Democrat. He says Jackson has a record of “strong decisive leadership” and is “exactly what’s needed at the VA.”

Senators have been discussing plans to delay Jackson’s confirmation hearing, saying more time may be needed to review whether Jackson can manage a massive agency of 360,000 employees serving 9 million veterans.

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

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1:46 a.m.

Senators are discussing plans to delay the confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump’s pick to be Veteran Affairs secretary over growing questions about the nominee’s ability to manage the government’s second-largest department.

The hearing for Ronny Jackson, Trump’s White House doctor, is scheduled for Wednesday.

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal says some Republicans have told him that they think the hearing should be postponed, which he says deserves consideration.

Blumenthal says he thinks there may well be a need for more time, in fairness to Jackson, so that he and the administration have an opportunity to answer these questions fully and fairly.

Blumenthal declined to discuss why more time might be needed.

White House and VA officials are also discussing a delay with key allies outside the administration.

In this April 16, 2018, photo, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson, M.D., sits with Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Veteran’s Affairs Committee, before their meeting on Capitol Hilin Washington. Jackson is President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Now it’s Washington’s turn to examine Jackson. The doctor to Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and now Donald Trump is an Iraq War veteran nominated to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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