Arlington, VA — Tomorrow the House will hold a floor vote on the bipartisan VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, which recently cleared the Senate. President Trump has indicated that he will sign the bill as soon as it reaches his desk.
CVA has been the leading veterans group pushing for accountability reform at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) since the group was founded in 2012. Most recently, CVA ran a national grassroots campaign urging Senators to support the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 via hundreds of thousands of activist calls and emails, as well as targeted web ads and local events across the country.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Policy Director Dan Caldwell released the following statement:
“Veterans deserve better than the level of service they’ve been receiving at the VA. Secretary Shulkin needs the authority to quickly remove bad employees, but right now he doesn’t have it. This bill will give him the power to instill a new culture of accountability at the troubled department, and veterans will receive better care as a result. Senators on both sides of the aisle came together in support of this common sense reform, and we urge the House to do the same. When President Trump signs this bill into law, it will truly be one of the most significant reforms the VA has seen in years.”
If signed into law, the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 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 measure 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.
Recently, President Trump established a new Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection within the VA. Both the President and Secretary Shulkin have been outspoken about the need for Congress to pass strong legislation to make that new office as effective as possible. Secretary Shulkin recently issued a statement explicitly urging Congress to pass S.1094 without delay.