Phoenix, AZ – Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) has signed on to co-sponsor the VA Accountability First Act of 2017, a bill which would make it easier to fire bad VA employees by shortening the termination process. Rep. Sinema is the first Democrat to co-sponsor the measure.
Earlier this week, Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) released an ad urging Rep. Sinema’s constituents to contact her office and ask her to support H.R. 1259. The group also promoted a digital tool allowing Arizona citizens and CVA-AZ activists to contact the representative via email, social media, and patch-through phone calls in support of the bill.
CVA Arizona State Director Matt Dobson issued the following statement:
“We applaud Rep. Sinema for putting Arizona veterans first and supporting this critical VA accountability legislation. The VA Accountability First Act of 2017 is a commonsense solution to employee misconduct at the VA. Until VA employees recognize that there are consequences for bad behavior, it will be incredibly difficult to eliminate the waste, fraud, and neglect within the department. The ultimate goal of the VA Accountability First Act is to help our veterans get the care they need and deserve – something both sides of the aisle have identified as an urgent priority. We urge Rep. O’Halleran to follow Rep. Sinema’s lead and proudly support this bill.”
CVA is running web ads targeted at Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), and will continue to pressure the Congressman until he steps forth in support of the bill. The group is also targeting 28 other elected officials across the country.
The 2017 VA Accountability First Act, introduced by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) would drastically shorten the overall termination and appeals process for 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. The bill also 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 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.