Raleigh, NC – 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 supported by Senator Thom Tillis.
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) North Carolina Coalitions Director John Byrnes issued the following statement:
“We are extremely encouraged to see President Trump work with Congress to stand up for veterans by signing this important accountability legislation today. VA Secretary Shulkin will now have the authority he needs to fire bad employees immediately and begin to fix the toxic culture at the department. For too long, bad employees were allowed to remain on the payroll and responsible for the care of veterans while a slow termination process protected them. We thank President Trump for his leadership on this issue and plan to continue working with this administration to improve care at VA facilities.”
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.