Key Veterans Organizations Back Major Bipartisan VA Reform

John Boehner

Later this afternoon, the House will take action on major bipartisan reform to bring real accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs. This bill will jumpstart real changes to ensure our veterans get the world-class care and treatment they have earned. As Speaker Ryan said this morning, this bill helps keep “one of our most important promises.”

Here is a one-pager on the bill from the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. And here are Speaker Ryan’s comments about the bill this morning at a leadership press conference.

But you certainly don’t have to take our word for it. Here are testimonials of support from several of the key veterans’ service organizations that have worked tirelessly to make these reforms a reality over the last three years. We recommend reading all the way to the end:

The American Legion
“This legislation, as currently written, will provide the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs the authorities to improve accountability and raise employee performance and morale.  We are impressed by the speed by which Congress acted to move this critical legislation forward to the President’s desk in a bipartisan manner. We look forward to this bill becoming law.” -Charles E. Schmidt, National Commander

Concerned Veterans for America

“For years a toxic culture has plagued the Department of Veterans Affairs, but the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act will be a meaningful step toward turning the troubled department around. Finally, Secretary Shulkin will be empowered with the authority to quickly remove those who under-perform, neglect patients, or even engage in criminal activity. We believe this historic piece of legislation will help usher in a new era of integrity and accountability at the department entrusted with caring for our heroes. We thank Chairman Roe, Senator Rubio, and concerned citizens across the country who pushed relentlessly to generate support from both sides of the aisle and make this reform a reality.” -Dan Caldwell, Policy Director

Fleet Reserve Association
“Accountability in the VA, and within the department, should be an authentic and transparent continuum of a prime-mover for the defined core-values, care and benefits for our nation’s veterans and their families.  This should be the mainstay, the anchor, and responsible course of action now and forever.” -Thomas J. Snee, M.Ed, National Executive Director

Got Your 6
“The veteran community has been pushing for three years now to adequately address the need for greater accountability at the VA while also maintaining a workplace that is able to attract and retain high quality professionals. Got Your 6 works to be a collaborative partner of the VA and we strongly support this approach to empower VA leadership with more efficient workforce management options. We applaud the House for quickly taking up this bill after Senate passage and look forward to the President signing it into law.” -Bill Rausch, Executive Director

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
“Given that the scandal in Phoenix alerted the country to the outrageous state of the VA health care system nearly three years ago, this change is long overdue. IAVA applauds the leadership of Majority Leader McCarthy and Chairman Roe to hold a House vote on the Senate-passed bill that will empower the VA to remove bad-acting employees. IAVA and our members have fought relentlessly to give the VA Secretary the tools needed to address workforce accountability and save veterans’ lives, and we are extremely pleased that final passage into law is within reach.” -IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff

Military Order of the Purple Heart
“The ability to hold bad employees accountable and protect whistleblowers is absolutely critical for VA to accomplish its mission of caring for our nation’s veterans.  MOPH deeply thanks all members of the House and Senate who voted “yes” on this legislation, and especially Chairmen Roe and Isakson and Ranking Members Walz and Tester for their steadfast, bipartisan leadership on this important issue.” -Hershel Gober, MOPH National Commander

Paralyzed Veterans of America
“No other large healthcare system rivals VA’s competence to deliver specialized services at a national level, such as spinal cord injury and disease and polytrauma care, or synthesizes access to healthcare, benefits, support, and peer mentorship better than VA. But what VA needs most right now is the one ‘ability’ it presently lacks and can no longer be taken for granted — accountability. Whether that means better protecting whistleblowers, shortening the reprimand process, or recouping ill-gotten bonuses and relocation expenses, achieving a state of being answerable to the public, the Congress, and most importantly, veterans, will be dictated by the worst behavior the VA Secretary has to tolerate. This bill will be a major step toward having to tolerate such behavior no more.”-Sherman Gillums, Executive Director

Student Veterans of America
“We have witnessed first-hand why it is imperative to have stronger accountability measures for VA employees. This bill gives the Secretary of VA the authority to take necessary action against negligent employees, such as recalling their bonuses and relocation expenses. Accountability is a major challenge for VA and this bill addresses accountability challenges with specific measures.” -Jared Lyon, President and CEO of Student Veterans of America

United States Army Warrant Officers Association
“This bipartisan legislation will ensure the VA Secretary has crucial, enforceable tools at his disposal to provide more efficient services to our Veterans in need, and enforce greater accountability of the professionals tasked with serving them.” -CW4 (Ret) Jack Du Teil, Executive Director

Veterans of Foreign Wars
“The VFW wants Secretary Shulkin to have the authority to manage his people in a manner expected of all senior executives, public or private. The VFW wants the secretary to weed out the nonperformers and those whose personal conduct brings doubt and dishonor upon thousands of dedicated employees. And the VFW wants this bill passed into law, because maintaining the status quo doesn’t work for those who have borne the battle.” -VFW National Commander Brian Duffy

Vietnam Veterans of America
“Vietnam Veterans of America has been advocating strongly for much greater accountability from VA management since our founding in 1978. We have done so in public statements and countless testimonies on Capitol Hill. This statute is a real milestone in that journey; a journey that at times seemed to be a very lonely effort. We are gratified to see this day.” -John Rowan, VVA National President

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