Grassroots veterans group urges passage of bill to hold bad VA employees accountable
ARLINGTON, Va.— Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Executive Director Russ Duerstine issued a statement in support of the Restore Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability Act led by Sen. Jerry Moran (Kan.) and Rep. Mike Bost (Ill.). If passed, this legislation would strengthen the Department of Veterans Affairs’ authority to hold bad employees accountable.
Russ Duerstine, CVA’s Executive Director, had this to say about the bill:
“Under the Biden administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs has failed our nation’s heroes by not following the VA MISSION Act law. This VA has acted as a barrier to veterans trying to access timely and quality care. While VA Secretary Denis McDonough has no plan to fix the broken VA health care system, Sen. Moran and Rep. Bost have proposed measures to restore true VA accountability. The Restore VA Accountability Act of 2023 would be a crucial step in the right direction to ensure VA is held responsible to the veterans it promised to serve. On behalf of every veteran who deserves the care they’ve earned, CVA urges Congress to act swiftly and support this accountability legislation; it is a matter of saving veterans’ lives.”
The gross misconduct revealed during the 2014 Phoenix VA Scandal drove Congress to pass 2017 legislation designed to hold VA employees accountable for their performance and to protect whistleblowers. Unfortunately, the law was mired in litigation and undermined by the decisions of federal agencies. The Restore Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability Act reinstates the will of Congress by bringing accountability to VA Senior Executives, Supervisors, and Employees for providing the quality and timely care veterans have earned, protecting whistleblowers trying to improve the VA in the process. Specifically, the legislation would:
- Ensure VA decisions supported by substantial evidence are upheld on appeal.
- Negate the requirement for a performance improvement plan prior to disciplinary action.
- Unlock expedited removal, demotion or suspension authority for use with all categories of VA employees.
- Align the disciplinary authority for unsatisfactory VA managers and supervisors with the process currently in place for members of the Senior Executive Service.