Some Republicans have sought to link that funding with Nelson's support for the health care legislation. However, Shinseki pointed out, it was Shinseki's predecessor James Peake, the Bush administration VA secretary, who first asked for an independent study of the Omaha facility after hearing of problems there. Shinseki then inherited the study.
Omaha had been 16th on the VA priority list for major construction, but Shinseki said some of the projects ahead of it were removed because they already had been funded.
The independent study, which found several deficiencies in the Omaha facility, also helped move the project into a position to be funded, Shinseki testified.
“It was the right thing to do for veterans in that part of the country,” Shinseki said of building a new hospital in Omaha.