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Donnelly-Supported Bill To Hold Wrongdoers At VA Accountable Passes Senate
Updated June 7, 2017 6:01 AM
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(Washington, D.C.) - On Tuesday, bipartisan legislation to hold wrongdoers at the Department of Veterans Affairs accountable for its treatment of veterans passed the Senate.

The VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, supported by U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, would make it easier for the VA to fire employees guilty of misconduct or wrongdoing, would prohibit bonuses to employees guilty of wrongdoing, and would protect whistleblowers who report wrongdoing.

Donnelly said, "Veterans in Indiana and across our country deserve a VA that is responsive, efficient and accountable. This bipartisan legislation would make needed changes at the VA: it would hold bad actors responsible while protecting whistleblowers and the vast majority of VA employees - many of whom are veterans themselves - who work day-in and day-out to provide our veterans with the best care and support possible."

The VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act would do the following:

  • Give VA the ability to terminate any employee for misconduct or wrongdoing while maintaining due process protections for VA employees to challenge their termination before and after their removal;
  • Give VA authority to recoup bonuses paid to employees with records of poor performance or misconduct, if VA determines the bonus would not have been paid had such conduct been known prior to payment;
  • Codify the creation of a whistleblower protection office and mandate that the head of such office be a Senate-confirmable position. It would direct VA to provide periodic training for managers and supervisors, including on whistleblower rights and effective management; and
  • Make it easier for VA to hire health care executives by allowing VA to make direct hires, rather than going through the full civil service hiring process, for these positions.
The bill has broad support including from: VA Secretary Shulkin, The American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Reserve Officers Association, Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), and Vietnam Veterans of America, among others.

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