Tense forum with Sen. John McCain on VA scandal - CBS 5 - KPHO

Tense forum with Sen. John McCain on VA scandal

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PHOENIX (CBS5) -

A forum Friday on the Veterans Affairs scandal hosted by local radio station 550 KFYI and featuring Senator John McCain got heated at times.

One by one, veterans and their families told story after tragic story of a loved one who died while awaiting care at the Phoenix VA.

"I don't care if the IG [Inspector General] says preliminary reports don't indicate that there was anything done wrong. My dad, a veteran, is no longer here and I know there was something done wrong," a lady said as she wept.

The forum on the VA scandal was a mixture of questions for Sen. McCain and a lot of venting at the top Republican.

Most, like Vietnam Veteran Gabriel Basso, has little confidence in the VA, as we all await the Inspector General's report.

"Unfortunately in that time, I believe some of my brother veterans and sisters are gonna die or suffer worst medical conditions," Basso said.

But McCain says he can't provide answers on why it took so long to pay attention to issues at the VA until he gets some of his own from embattled VA Secretary Eric Shinseki next week.

Shinseki is currently facing mounting pressure to resign.

"If laws were broken, I want to see people go to jail," McCain added.

McCain wasn't not the only one who got an earful. Scott McRoberts, spokesman for the Phoenix VA was in the audience as well.

"It was hard and it was painful to hear and we empathize with each and every one of those of veterans that feel like they didn't get the best care that the VA is capable of providing," McRoberts said.

So what happens next? There are several events next week that you should know about.

There will be a town hall at the American Legion Post 417 at 15 South 2nd Ave on Tuesday, May 13 at 7 p.m.

On Thursday, May 15, the Concerned Veterans for America will hold an "Accountability Rally" at Steele Indian School Park at 8:30 a.m.

Also on Thursday, the U.S. Senate Veterans Affairs Committee is holding a "State of VA healthcare" hearing on Capitol Hill. It starts at 10 a.m., where VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is expected to testify.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation) All rights reserved.

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