President Trump Signs Historic VA Accountability Bill
Columbus, OH – 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. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) attempted to water down the measure.
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) Ohio Field Director Steve Burkhalter issued the following statement:
“By signing this crucial accountability legislation, President Trump has helped to deliver a major victory to veterans receiving care at VA facilities. VA Secretary Shulkin now has the authority to immediately terminate employees found guilty of misconduct before they can cause further harm and goes a step further by ensuring that whistleblowers with the courage to speak up and flag wrongdoing are protected from retaliation. This legislation brings us one step closer to correcting the toxic VA culture that has led to tragic deaths and endless scandals. We thank President Trump for signing this bill and hope next time around, Senator Brown will stand up for veterans instead of protecting big unions.”
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.