Rep. Peters Votes to Pass Bipartisan VA Accountability Bill
Today, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters’ (CA-52) joined a bipartisan majority to pass the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act to help improve the service and care veterans receive at the VA. The bill will give the Secretary of Veterans Affairs greater authority to remove or discipline poorly-performing and negligent employees. It will also strengthen whistleblower protections that encourage employees to call out careless or criminal behavior. The bill has already passed the Senate, and will now move to the President’s desk for his signature.
The passing of this bill means that the House has completed three of its top priorities for supporting our veterans this year in a bipartisan fashion: appeals modernization and reform, extending the Choice program, and now increasing accountability at the VA.
Rep. Peters, a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, spoke in support of the bill during the debate on the House floor. “For everything our veterans have given in service to this country, they have earned their benefits and access to timely, quality health care at the VA,” he said. “And honoring this promise is not only a matter of resources; it also depends on changing the culture at the VA. From the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, to the doctors and nurses, to the administrators who book appointments, it has to be about serving the veteran, not the bureaucracy. By holding bad actors accountable and protecting the hardworking employees who care for our veterans, this bipartisan legislation will improve the service our veterans receive.”
Click HERE or above to view Rep. Peters’ full remarks in support of increasing accountability at the VA.
- Authorizes the Secretary of the VA to reprimand, suspend, demote, or fire senior executive service employees if the secretary determines their conduct warrants it, subject to a 21 day review process.
- Authorizes the Secretary of the VA to fire, demote, or suspend for longer than two weeks without pay non-senior employees, subject to a 180 day appeal by the Merit Systems Protection Board.
- Protects whistleblowers from retaliation by preventing the Secretary of the VA from firing employees who have filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel.
- Requires the VA to frequently train supervisors on the rights of whistleblowers.