It’s about to get easier to fire bad employees at the VA
The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that will make it easier to “remove, demote or suspend” employees for misconduct or poor performance.
Tennessee Rep. Phil Roe, chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, praised the measure.
“For far too long, the failures of the bad actors have tarnished the good name of all VA employees,” he said. “No effort toward real, wholesale reform at the department will ever be successful absent a strong culture of accountability first.”
VA Secretary David Shulkin and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan also voiced their support for the measure, which passed with a bipartisan vote and was endorsed by veterans groups. Proponents say it will speed up the discipline and termination process of a system that is bureaucratic, slow, and lenient.
The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, for instance, cited a statement listing several cases in which the VA was unable to discipline employees who “engaged in an armed robbery; discipline a VA nurse that participated in a veteran’s surgery while intoxicated; and hold employees accountable for the continued failures to manage several major construction projects.”
The most noteworthy opposition to the bill came from civil servant unions, which cast the bill as a way to weaken established protections for whistleblowers and government employees. However the bill actually adds certain protections for whistleblowers.
With the Senate already having passed the bill by voice vote, it now goes to the White House, where President Donald Trump is expected to sign it into law.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2017