Veterans group criticizes Secretary McDonough for reckless decision to throw out 2017 VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act
ARLINGTON, Va.—Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) on Tuesday issued a statement regarding the Veterans Affairs Department’s announcement that it will no longer use a 2017 law designed to allow it to quickly discipline and fire employees. VA vowed to continue to hold employees accountable, but going forward it will rely on the ineffective measures set in place prior to the passage of the 2017 VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. The cessation will begin April 3, according to a memorandum sent earlier this month conveying VA Secretary Denis McDonough’s decision.
Russ Duerstine, CVA’s Executive Director, had this to say about the VA’s decision:
“The 2017 VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act was enacted to remove the incentives that led to the Phoenix VA wait list scandal by holding VA employees accountable to meet the needs of the veterans they serve. Rather than embracing and participating in the process to ensure quality care by holding VA employees accountable for poor performance and misconduct, Secretary McDonough has chosen to put politics ahead of the veterans he and the VA claim to serve.
Congress, not the VA, makes the law which is why it should conduct oversight hearings on the VA’s attempt to ignore the 2017 VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. Until the VA fully upholds the active parts of this law, Congress should freeze bonuses for VA officials. Congress must also ensure its intent is carried out by passing a new VA accountability act that fixes the problems which caused the courts to overturn parts of the old law. Veterans’ lives depend on lawmakers acting swiftly and decisively to protect them from poor performing employees who do not provide the timely and quality care they need.”
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