Miami, FL – Today President Trump helped to deliver a major victory for veterans across the nation by signing the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017. The bill was championed by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and supported by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL).
The VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 will reduce the time it takes to fire bad employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs (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.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Florida Coalitions Director Diego Echeverri issued the following statement:
“Every veteran receiving care at VA facilities will now know that those entrusted with their care can be held responsible for their actions. This accountability bill gives Secretary Shulkin the authority to immediately fire any employee found guilty of wrongdoing before they can endanger the health and safety of more patients. Establishing accountability is an important first step in fixing the toxic culture at the VA. We thank President Trump for signing this bill and Senator Marco Rubio for boldly championing it. We look forward to continuing to work with this administration and both sides of the aisle to address the many challenges the VA still faces.”
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.
CVA has been the leading veterans group pushing for accountability reform at the VA since the group was founded in 2012. Most recently, CVA ran a national grassroots campaign urging elected officials 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.