Philadelphia, PA – Today President Trump delivered 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 Pat Toomey.
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) Pennsylvania Field Director Eve Allen issued the following statement:
“Today represents a landmark victory for veterans around the nation. VA Secretary Shulkin now has the tools he needs to immediately fire employees found guilty of wrongdoing while protecting the whistleblowers who flag these incidents from retaliation. Instituting real accountability is an important first step in fixing the toxic culture at the VA. We are grateful for Secretary Shulkin’s dedication to creating an accountable VA and look forward to working with him on continuing to pass reforms for our nation’s veterans.”
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.