Today, at 11:30 a.m. ET, President Trump will sign the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act into law.
This legislation, which passed the House last week with strong bipartisan support, is a major victory for our veterans and their families. Finally, after years of corruption and mismanagement, we’re bringing sanity back to the VA. That’s why the country’s leading veterans organizations support these critical reforms to restore accountability and protect whistleblowers.
Click here to learn more about the bill and check out some of the latest news clips below:
“Congress approved long-sought legislation Tuesday to make firing employees easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs, part of an effort urged by President Donald Trump to fix a struggling agency serving millions of veterans.” (AP)
“The legislation follows several high profile scandals that included veterans dying waiting to get appointments at VA hospitals and one top manager at a Wisconsin facility who widely distributed narcotics got a bonus, even after a patient died of an overdose.” (CNN)
“Reforming the VA and increasing accountability on VA employees was a consistent theme of Trump’s during the campaign. The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act would protect whistleblowers within the department and make it easier to fire federal employees.” (NBC News)
“VA Secretary David Shulkin has called on lawmakers for months to grant him greater authority over the firing of employees who are guilty of misconduct. Shulkin’s case received a boost of urgency in March after the department struggled to fire a VA worker who was caught watching porn while with a patient.” (Free Beacon)
“The bill includes new protections against retaliation for VA staffers who expose corruption. It establishes an Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection within the department and forbids the VA secretary from retaliating against whistleblowers who have filed a complaint with the VA general counsel’s office. It was whistleblowers who helped expose the nationwide scandal over long waits for care three years ago.” (NPR)
“The bill would allow the department’s secretary to fire, suspend or demote an employee with only 15 days’ notice. Employees would be able to appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board in an expedited timeframe. MSPB would have 180 days to issue a decision, a much longer period than the 45-day timeline set up in the House bill. Employees would maintain the right to appeal an MSPB decision to federal court.” (GovExec)
“The reform bill would make it easier to fire employees for cause, adds some protections for whistleblowers and puts more power in the hands of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. Dan Caldwell, director of policy for Concerned Veterans for America, an advocacy group, said the bill will replace a system he said is too bureaucratic, too slow and too lenient on employees, sending the message that the ‘days of employees who engage in flagrant misconduct’ are over.” (LA Times)
“The department’s reputation was also tarnished following a wide-reaching scandal three years ago involving VA employees manipulating data to downplay how long veterans were waiting for medical appointments. Then-VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned as a result. . . . The bill now heads to Trump’s desk, where he is expected to sign it. Trump repeatedly vowed on the campaign trail that he would increase accountability at the VA and tweeted his support of the bill after the Senate passed it last week.” (The Hill)
“The House voted 368-55 Tuesday to send President Trump legislation to ease worker protections at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The legislation, written in response to recent scandals at the department over manipulation of waiting lists and poor conditions at hospitals, will make it easier to fire VA workers over such problems.” (Washington Examiner)
“A veterans affairs accountability bill described as ‘desperately needed’ landmark legislation that makes it easier to fire employees for misconduct and encourages whistleblowers to call attention to wrongdoing passed the House on a lopsided vote Tuesday evening. The vote was 368 to 55. The same measure passed the Senate last week on a voice vote and is now headed to the White House for signing into law by President Donald Trump.” (USA Today)