Arlington, Va. — Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Vice President for Legislative and Political Action Dan Caldwell released the following statement announcing CVA’s opposition to the Veterans First Act as currently written:
“Overall, the Veterans First Act does not do nearly enough to address the systemic problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“The VA is still plagued by almost-daily stories of misconduct, and unfortunately the accountability portion of the Veterans First Act leaves in place too many loopholes that could be exploited to delay or block adverse actions against employees guilty of such misconduct. Instead, the Senate should act to replace the accountability portion of the bill with the VA Accountability Act — legislation that will introduce robust accountability and whistleblower protections to the VA, and which has already passed the House on a bipartisan vote.
“This legislation also creates various new programs, offices and initiatives, but we believe these will only create more bureaucracy and financial waste at the department. Many facets of this legislation, such as mandating community meetings at VA hospitals, make for great election-year soundbites, but will not substantially improve the delivery of health care and other benefits. More troubling, the modification of rules regarding the VA’s role as a secondary payer in the Choice Card program has potential to lead to unnecessary increased costs for that program.
“Concerned Veterans for America will strongly advocate for improvements to this legislation which would address the core problems behind the crisis at the department. Veterans should be able to expect accountability at the VA and true health care choice. While these common-sense proposals should be a part of any substantial VA reform bill, the Veterans First Act largely fails to include either.”
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Concerned Veterans for America is a non-partisan, non-profit, 501(c)(4) organization that advocates for policies that will preserve the freedom and prosperity we and our families so proudly fought and sacrificed to defend.