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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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May 21st, 2014
06:11 PM ET

Should Shinseki go? Vets, lawmakers split along party lines

(CNN) – Did President Barack Obama go far enough to satisfy veterans with his comments Wednesday, which did not include a call for Veterans Affairs Secretary Gen. Eric Shinseki to resign?

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, an Iraq War veteran who served in the national guard, cautioned against Shinseki's resignation, calling such a move "a symbolic change just to make people feel better."

Gabbard said efforts to fix systemic problems at the VA should be the focus, and Shinseki may be the man best equipped to lead that charge.

Illinois Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who flew missions for the U.S. Air Force in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he has "resisted calling for (Shinseki's) resignation," saying jumping on "resignation bandwagons (is) sometimes cheap politics."

But as the VA scandal unfolded, he changed his mind.

"It is time for General Shinseki to resign," Kinzinger said. "At some point you have to say, okay, who's going to head up the VA, to be able to come in and really make a difference?"

Republicans could also use the growing controversy against Democrats in what is already a tough midterm election.

"Both parties would be best served if we actually focus on a productive solution to this, rather than talking politics, this is not a political game," said Gabbard.

Indeed, Republicans are coming under fire for their lack of outrage when problems with the VA occurred under former President George W. Bush.

"Has it happened under Bush? Sure. The Bush administration in fact told the Obama administration that they foresaw these problems coming, and they need to get on it," said Kinzinger.

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