His remarks come on the heels of a bold statement the VA issued late Friday afternoon asserting that “without legislative changes, VA will continue to be forced to delay immediate actions to remove employees from federal service.” The statement was made in response to a situation in which Shulkin was unable to quickly fire an employee caught watching porn with another patient at the VA.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Executive Director Mark Lucas issued the following statement:
“Concerned Veterans for America applauds Secretary Shulkin for acknowledging that systemic reforms are needed at the VA and demanding accountability now. We have been pushing VA accountability for years because our veterans need and deserve better care, and we’re grateful that Secretary Shulkin is quickly becoming an ally in this fight.
“Secretary Shulkin said it’s up to the Senate to fix this problem by sending strong accountability legislation to President Trump’s desk without delay, and we agree. The VA Accountability First Act of 2017 has the support of the President, VA Secretary, and most major veterans’ organizations. At this point, there is no excuse for the Senate to not move this bill to a vote as soon as possible.”
CVA supports the VA Accountability First Act of 2017, which passed through the House with bipartisan support in early March. The Senate version of the bill, introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), has not yet been scheduled for a vote.
If passed, the 2017 VA Accountability First Act would drastically shorten the overall termination and appeals process for VA employees who are found to have engaged in misconduct. Currently, that process can take months or even years. The bill also empowers the VA Secretary to recoup bonuses awarded in error or given to employees who were later found to have engaged in misconduct. Additionally, the bill gives the VA Secretary the ability to reduce the pensions of VA employees who are convicted of felonies that influenced their job performance.
Earlier this week, it was reported that one VA hospital held a job open for its accountant while he served a prison term for killing someone and hired a convicted child molester, keeping him on VA payroll while he repeatedly reoffended.