Help ensure bad VA employees can be held accountable for failing our Veterans
Hot on the heels of President Donald Trump’s executive order that created an office at the Department of Veteran Affairs to better protect whistleblowers, Congress has now taken a big step toward making it easier for the VA to fire bad employees.
Spearheaded by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the measure eases up on certain provisions criticized by Democrats in a bill that the House of Representatives passed last month. The House bill would have allowed 45 days for VA employees to appeal disciplinary actions, for instance, while the Senate’s version extends this to 180 days.
“To fully reform the VA and provide our nation’s veterans with the quality care they were promised and deserve, we must ensure the department can efficiently dismiss employees who are not able or willing to do their jobs,” said Rubio.
— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) May 11, 2017
With the changes to the House bill, Senators Jon Tester of Montana, a Democrat, and Republican Senator Johnny Isakson of Georgia have voiced their support.
Since 2014, when a myriad of abuses at the Phoenix VA medical center were exposed, the VA has had a notoriously hard time removing poor managers and employees, no major reforms have been passed to deal with the problem. With this bill’s new bipartisan support, however, its future looks promising. Phil Roe, the chairman of the House Veteran Affairs Committee who sponsored the original House bill, says he will support the Senate’s edits.
The bill has additional support from outside groups like Concerned Veterans for America. “These new measures will disincentivize bad behavior within the VA and further protect those who bravely expose wrongdoing,” said Dan Caldwell, policy director of CVA.
If it passes, it will also legally codify the VA’s new accountability office in the VA that Trump created with his executive order.
Read more about the bill at Fox News.