Reforming the VA to Protect Veterans, Not Bureaucrats
WASHINGTON, DC - In 2014, news broke that VA facilities across the country were engaged in practices resulting in veterans experiencing excessive waits for routine care and cancer screenings, being placed on secret waitlists to obscure actual wait times, and falsifying records to receive performance bonuses. After investigations by Congress and the Office of the Special Counsel, several legislative measures were taken, including a bill similar to what was passed today that never got a vote in the Senate. Three years after the Veterans Affairs scandal made national headlines, the House continues its efforts to implement reforms so that veterans receive the quality medical care they deserve.
S 1094, The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, provides the VA Secretary a new and streamlined process to remove or suspend VA officials while protecting their right to appeals and disputes. It was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill also includes new whistleblower protections for employees willing to speak out on bad and illegal practices they witness.
After voting in favor of S 1094, Congressman Bob Gibbs released the following statement:
“The scandals that left veterans waiting for critical care, some of whom died, should have been a wake-up call to Washington. Sadly, we had to wait for a Republican Senate willing to take up this important bill. Today’s vote is a message to every veteran receiving VA care that we will not forget you, that we will not place a bureaucrat’s job ahead of your health and that we won’t let bad actors obstruct the efforts of the majority of VA’s hardworking employees. ‘Business as usual’ for a government agency shouldn’t mean obscuring and falsifying documents. I am proud to stand with and support the many veterans who rely on the VA for health care.”