The Senate has approved Washington lawyer Michael Missal as the new chief watchdog at the troubled U.S. Veterans Affairs Department.
President Barack Obama nominated Missal to be the VA's inspector general in October. Lawmakers from both parties have long sought a permanent inspector general for the VA as the agency struggles to meet veterans' health care needs and provide timely decisions on benefits.
The chairman of the Senate veterans panel, Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, said he looked forward to working with Missal to "root out the problems and hold bad actors at the VA accountable" for chronic health care delays and other problems.
Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the panel's top Democrat, called Missal "a key leader in our ongoing accountability efforts.