Arlington, VA — Today the House of Representatives will vote on H.R. 1259, the VA Accountability First Act of 2017. The bill was introduced by House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC) Chairman Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) and has broad support.
Almost every major veterans group – including the American Legion, VFW, and Paralyzed Veterans of America – is behind this bill, and it also has support from members of both parties in the House.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Policy Director Dan Caldwell issued the following statement ahead of today’s vote:
“For too long, negligent VA employees have been allowed to endanger the lives of veterans with little accountability. This is simple: it needs to be easier to get bad employees out of the VA. No more talk – it’s time for action. We urge each and every elected official to do the right thing and proudly vote yes on this critical VA reform legislation today. Veterans around the country are eagerly anticipating this positive development.”
Last week, CVA launched a targeted digital campaign urging thirty members of the House to support H.R. 1259. The campaign included web ads and a promoted digital tool that allows constituents to contact their representative directly in regards to the bill.
The 2017 VA Accountability First Act would drastically shorten the overall termination and appeals process for Department of Veterans Affairs (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.
The VA Accountability First Act of 2017 also contains language that ensures that these new powers for the VA Secretary cannot be used against whistleblowers who speak up about wrongdoings at the VA.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has introduced the Senate version of the bill.