WASHINGTON — The top official for veterans’ health care resigned Friday amid a firestorm over delays in care and falsified records at veterans’ hospitals.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki said he has accepted the resignation of Robert Petzel, the department’s undersecretary for health care. Shinseki had asked for the resignation, a department official later said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for attribution.

Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, mocked the announcement, calling it “the pinnacle of disingenuous political doublespeak” since Petzel had been scheduled to retire this year anyway. The American Legion, which has called for Shinseki to resign, said the same: “This move by VA is not a corrective action, but a continuation of business as usual.”

The announcement came a day after both men were grilled at a four-hour hearing of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where lawmakers and veteran groups expressed exasperation of long-standing problems at the department.

Meanwhile, House Republicans scheduled a vote for Wednesday on legislation that would give Shinseki more authority to fire officials at the agency and its 152 medical centers.

When senior leaders in the VA “fail the men and women who have put their lives on the line for our country, they deserve a pink slip – not a bonus,” House Speaker John Boehner said Friday. While some Republicans in Congress have joined the call for Shinseki to resign, Boehner is not among them.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has also backed Shinseki but appeared to waver after Shinseki came before a Senate committee this week.

“If he doesn’t give a better answer, then I’m not sure how he wouldn’t have to do anything but resign,” McCain told Fox News Channel Thursday night.

Reports of long waits for appointments and processing applications have plagued VA for years. A former clinic director at the VA’s medical center in Phoenix told a House committee last month that up to 40 people may have died while awaiting appointments.

Petzel was scheduled to retire this year, and Shinseki last fall had convened a commission to recommend candidates for presidential appointment to be the new undersecretary. VA is required by law to convene a commission to seek and review candidates for the position.

Petzel had agreed to remain until the Senate confirmed a replacement. President Obama this month announced his intent to nominate Dr. Jeffrey A. Murawsky to be undersecretary for health, but he has not been confirmed.

“As we know from the veteran community, most veterans are satisfied with the quality of their VA health care, but we must do more to improve timely access to that care,” Shinseski said in a statement announcing Friday that Petzel was leaving.

In his position, Petzel oversaw what officials say is the largest health care delivery system in the U.S. The VA operates 1700 hospitals, clinics and other facilities around the country. They employ about 300,000 people and serve about 6.5 million veterans and other beneficiaries each year.

Miller wrote the legislation that is to be taken up next week. He said said Friday that the resignation announcement shows the VA is “apparently unwilling to take substantive actions to hold any of its leaders accountable.”

Shinseki on Thursday told senators he was “mad as hell” about allegations of severe problems and said he was looking for quick results from a nationwide audit. He has rejected calls for him to resign.