Arlington, VA – Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Executive Director Mark Lucas issued the following statement:
“Congress should turn its focus to health care reform everyone can agree on: fixing the broken Department of Veterans Affairs. The bipartisan VA Accountability First Act of 2017 is supported by President Trump, the VA Secretary, most major veterans groups and Americans across the country who want to end the suffering of veterans impacted by negligence at the VA. While health care is top of mind, we urge members of the Senate to turn their attention toward VA accountability and make 2017 a year of postive change for veterans’ care.”
The VA Accountability First Act of 2017, introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), is supported by Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin and most major veterans organizations. The measure also has the support of Senate Veterans Affairs Committee member Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC).
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.
The House version of the bill, H.R. 1259, passed with bipartisan support on March 16, 2017.
President Trump included strong accountability measures as part of his 10-point VA reform plan on the campaign trail. Polling shows that veterans overwhelmingly support increased accountability measures at the VA.