Arlington, VA – Today Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) released a new national digital ad urging citizens to contact their Senators in support of S. 1094, the bipartisan VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017. The ad will be promoted in Missouri, North Dakota, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Alaska, Pennsylvania, and Illinois and is part of a six-figure investment the group is making to help pass strong accountability measures this year.
“Veterans may be dying waiting for care at the VA,” the ad narrator says. “Once they arrive, their lives are put in danger – and bad VA employees remain in power. Congress must protect those who have protected us.” The ad directs viewers to call a CVA switchboard where they are educated about the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 and patched through to their Senators.
CVA Policy Director Dan Caldwell issued the following statement:
“This bill was written by a bipartisan group of Senators and has the support of every major veterans organization representing veterans across the country. With such broad consensus, there is no reason to cave to union pressure to water the measure down. We proudly support the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act as it is currently written and will continue urging our activists to contact their Senators in support of the bill until the moment President Trump signs it into law. Veterans will continue to suffer until Congress gives Shulkin the authority he needs to get bad VA employees out for good. The Senate should put this bill up for a vote within the next few weeks, if not sooner.”
The VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act 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 bill 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.
Yesterday, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC) held a hearing in regards to the bill, where big VA union American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) voiced their opposition. AFGE has historically blocked measures to hold bad VA employees accountable. The bill has not yet been scheduled for a vote.
To date, CVA activists have made hundreds of thousands of calls in support of VA accountability and made over 20,000 direct contacts with legislators in regards to the VA Accountability First Act, an earlier, similar version of the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act which passed through the House with bipartisan support earlier this year.