Bill Nelson (D-Florida), gives the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. David 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 VA.
In addition to making it easier to get rid of under performing employees, the bill also establishes protections for Whistle Blowers from retaliation. The VA is the second-largest department in the U.S. government, with more than 350,000 employees, and it is charged with providing health care and other services to military veterans.
We thank President Trump for signing this bill and Senator Marco Rubio for boldly championing it.
"As you all know all too well, for many years the government failed to keep its promises to our veterans".
Friday's law passed through Congress in recent weeks and is the result of an executive order Trump issued in April, which created a federal office to address accountability and whistleblower protection.
The bill was prompted by a 2014 scandal at the Phoenix VA medical center, where some veterans died while waiting for care.
"So many great Veterans Service Organizations across the country supported this legislation and I am grateful for their help in getting it passed and signed into law".
"Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor", Lee said in a joint statement with Sens.
Shulkin pushed for this kind of reform bill during his confirmation process and in the first months of his tenure, arguing that the department was "still in critical condition" and more accountability was needed to improve the treatment veterans receive. "It makes it just as easy to fire a good employee, an innocent employee, as it will be to fire a bad employee". By signing this important piece of legislation into law, we will be one step closer to reforming VA for once and for all.
President Donald Trump signs the "Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017" in the East Room of the White House, Friday, June 23, 2017, in Washington.