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Senate Passes Historic VA Accountability Legislation

By Concerned Veterans for America

Arlington, VA — Tonight the Senate passed the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act in a voice vote on the Senate floor. The bill was introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) earlier this year. 

CVA engaged in a major national grassroots effort to help this measure pass, making hundreds of thousands of calls and emails to targeted Senate offices, running ads, and hosting local activist events across the country in support of the bill. CVA has fought for accountability measures at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) since the group was founded in 2012. 

Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) Policy Director Dan Caldwell issued the following statement: 

“Tonight, the Senate passed a significant piece of bipartisan VA reform that will help turn the troubled department around. When this bill is signed into law, Secretary Shulkin will be able to get poor performers out quickly and drive a new culture of integrity, customer focus, and work ethic within the VA. This is democracy at work: both parties coming together to advance meaningful legislation that will help millions of Americans across the country. 

“We applaud the Senators on both sides of the aisle who boldly stood up for veterans and voted in favor of this measure. Veterans across the country were paying close attention to who supported them tonight.”

The bill, S. 1094, will now move to the House to concur. President Trump has indicated that he will sign the bill as soon as it gets to his desk. 

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.