Six key positions for the Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims may soon be filled as they head to the full Senate for a vote.
“I urge the full Senate to quickly approve these nominees so they can assume their positions and serve veterans well,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
Approved by the committee via voice vote were Thomas Bowman to be deputy secretary of the VA, and Brooks Tucker to be assistant secretary for Congressional and legislative affairs.
Bowman, who retired as a Colonel after 30 years in the Marine Corps, has served as staff director of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs committee since 2015, when Isakson became chairman. If confirmed, he will occupy the No. 2 position in the VA, the second-largest federal agency.
The committee also approved James Byrne to serve as the VA’s general counsel.
Amanda Meredith, Michael Allen, and Joseph Toth are the nominees to serve as judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, who will be responsible for issuing decisions on veterans appealing their VA disability claims. Currently, there are more than 470,000 veterans waiting on decisions regarding their appeals.
Meredith has served on the Republican staff of the Senate VA committee since 2015. Meredith has spent the past 12 years on the Senate VA committee and worked at the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims for almost 8 years.
The six political appointees were questioned Wednesday during a Senate confirmation hearing. “We need strong leadership in place at the VA so veterans are provided with better access to the care and benefits they have earned,” said Sen. Jon Tester D-Mont., the Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs committee.