Columbus, OH – Today the House passed the bipartisan VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, which recently cleared the Senate. President Trump has indicated that he will sign the bill as soon as it reaches his desk.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) has been the leading veterans group pushing for accountability reform at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) since the group was founded in 2012. Most recently, CVA ran a national grassroots campaign urging Senators to support the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 via hundreds of thousands of activist calls and emails, as well as targeted web ads and local events across the country.
CVA Ohio Field Director Steve Burkhalter issued the following statement:
“This groundbreaking VA accountability legislation will grant the VA Secretary the authority to quickly terminate employees found guilty of wrongdoing. At the same time, the bill will protect the whistleblowers who have the courage flag incidents of misconduct. Although we are disappointed that Senator Sherrod Brown opposed this bipartisan measure, we are glad that the clear majority of Congress recognized its importance. We look forward to President Trump signing this important accountability reform into law this week.”
If signed into law, the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 will reduce the time it takes to fire bad employees at the VA, give Secretary Shulkin the ability to recoup bonuses awarded to employees who are found to have engaged in misconduct, and reduce the pensions of VA employees found guilty of felonies related to their employment at the VA. The measure ensures that VA employees who are terminated will not remain on the VA payroll while appealing their terminations. The bill will also increase protections for whistleblowers to help ensure that they are not retaliated against for speaking up about wrongdoings at the department.