House Stands with Veterans, Passes VA Accountability First Act
Arlington, VA – Today the House of Representatives voted 237-178 in favor of the VA Accountability First Act of 2017, H.R. 1259, a bill which would make it easier to terminate bad VA employees. The bill was passed with bipartisan support.
The VA Accountability First Act was introduced by House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC) Chairman Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) and is supported by almost every major veterans group.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Policy Director Dan Caldwell issued the following statement:
“Today was a promising development for veterans across the country who have been fighting to fix the toxic culture at the VA for years. We applaud the elected officials who chose to stand with veterans instead of big government unions. There is no reason it should take months or even years to fire the bad VA employees who neglect and endanger the lives of America’s heroes on the taxpayers’ dime. The Senate must quickly take up Senator Rubio’s version of this bill and pass it without delay. VA accountability is a life or death matter for many veterans, and this reform is long overdue.”
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.