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Rep. Hice Votes to Rid VA of Bad Actors

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Washington, June 13, 2017 | Nadgey Louis-Charles (202-225-2351) | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Jody Hice (R-GA) today applauded the passage of S. 1094, the Department of Veterans Affairs and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, sponsored by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Jon Tester (D-MT), which will allow the VA Secretary to dismiss bad employees, from executives to rank-and-file, while ensuring due process protections for whistleblowers.

“The commitment of our nation’s veterans is irrefutable, and our commitment to them must be the same,” said Congressman Hice. “A culture of complacency is no longer acceptable, and we must act boldly in order to restore accountability at the VA. The Department of Veterans Affairs and Whistleblower Protection Act builds on earlier VA reforms by further empowering department leadership to quickly terminate negligent employees, prohibiting bonuses for employees accused of wrongdoing, and instituting critical protections for whistleblowers.”

“The problems unearthed at the VA three years ago were horrifying and upsetting,” Hice continued.  “We are making good on our promise to fix these problems, and I’m pleased that this vital legislation is headed to the President’s desk for his signature.”

Background:

The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act institutes necessary reforms at the VA by granting the Secretary with the authority to quickly remove, demote, or suspend any VA employee for poor performance or misconduct, expanding whistleblower protections, and appointing permanent medical VA directors.

The legislation also contains a number of other provisions to hold employees accountable, including:

  • Streamlining the ability of the Secretary to recoup bonuses and awards for bad actors;
  • Authorizing the Secretary to reduce an employee’s pension if they are convicted of a felony that influenced their job performance;
  • Requiring the VA to evaluate supervisors based on the protection of whistleblowers;
  • Incentivizing managers to report poor performance and misconduct among employees by requiring the VA secretary to include this as part of the annual performance plan; and
  • Prohibiting relocation expenses to employees who abuse the system.

The U.S. Senate passed S. 1094, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, on June 6, 2017. Following today’s passage by a vote of 368 – 55 in the U.S. House of Representatives, the measure now heads to the White House for the President’s signature.

A one-page summary of the legislation can be found here.

 

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Tags: Veterans

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