The House passed legislation Thursday that would make it easier to fire Veterans Affairs employees for poor performance or misconduct.
The VA Accountability First Act of 2017 (H.R. 1259) passed on a vote of 237-178.
Among other things, the bill would allow the VA Secretary to reduce an employee’s pension if she or he was convicted of a felony. The bill also allows the Secretary to recoup bonuses paid to employees if he or she was engaged in misconduct. For a complete rundown of the terms of the bill, see Legislation Reintroduced in Congress to Make It Easier to Fire VA Employees and VA Accountability: Federal Government Trapped In A System In Desperate Need of Reform.
House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) said in a statement:
The VA Accountability First Act will provide Secretary Shulkin the tools he needs to swiftly discipline employees who fail in their mission to provide world-class health care and services to the men and women who served, and I’m proud this bill passed with bipartisan support. This legislation doesn’t just build back the trust of America’s veterans; it gives VA employees the trust to know that bad actors within the department will no longer have the power to taint their good name. I applaud my colleagues’ work today to put veterans first, and I look forward to continuing our progress in creating a culture of accountability at VA.