House clears major Veterans Affairs reform bill, sends to White House

The House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday aimed at overhauling the Department of Veterans Affairs and protecting whistleblowers

The House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday aimed at overhauling the Department of Veterans Affairs and protecting whistleblowers

Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif., the committee's ranking member past year, said that he hopes the accountability bill's passage "will provide veterans greater confidence that the VA is prepared to meet their needs" and that Congress "shift our focus from who is fired from the VA to who is hired at the VA".

The bill is created to protect whistleblowers and give VA Secretary David Shulkin the tools to fire bad or under-performing employees. If S. 1094 were presented to the President, his advisors would recommend that he sign the bill into law.

"This has been a long time in coming", Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said Tuesday, calling this legislation one of, "if not the biggest step we have taken to turn this page" following scandals within the Veterans Administration.

"Fixing the culture at the VA requires us to acknowledge the great work of the many without leaving them tainted with the incompetence and scandal of the few", he said.

Congress set its sights on VA reform in 2014, after a whistleblower claimed that roughly 40 veterans died waiting up to 21 months for care at a VA hospital in Phoenix. This legislation will help improve services and care at the Department of Veterans Affairs by empowering the Trump administration to get the bad apples out so the good employees can do their jobs. "And most fundamentally, it will assure veterans that when we say that we are a grateful nation, we mean it", Ryan said Tuesday morning ahead of the vote.

The bill was criticized by American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 700,000 federal workers.

Specifically, H.R. 1259 increases accountability at the VA by making it easier for the VA Secretary to punish or fire bad employees. But the Senate-passed measure was viewed as more in balance with workers' rights than a version passed by the House in March, mostly along party lines.

The Senate bill also would turn a campaign promise of Trump's into law. It establishes an "Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection" within the department and forbids the VA Secretary from retaliating against whistleblowers who have filed a complaint with the VA general counsel's office. The Senate approved the measure last week.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy on the House floor said about the string of problems at the agency, "this has happened for years".

"Veterans across the country can look forward to a new culture of accountability and integrity at the VA", said Dan Caldwell, policy director of the conservative Concerned Veterans for America, which lobbied for years to pass legislation.

Recommended News

  • Hopes rise for softer Brexit after poll shock

    Before the government can do anything it must finalise a deal with the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party (DUP ). Labour, the main opposition party, won 262, while Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP ) won 10 seats.
    George Obsorne says Theresa May is a 'dead woman walking'

    George Obsorne says Theresa May is a 'dead woman walking'

    Whilst Emily Thornbury the shadow cabinet member said that May is "squatting in Downing Street". She will never fight another election as leader of the Conservative party that is for sure.
    Uber's SVP of Business Emil Michael Just Left the Company

    Uber's SVP of Business Emil Michael Just Left the Company

    Last week, Uber fired 20 employees after 215 harassment complaints were reviewed by another law firm in a separate investigation. There have been reports that top officials, including Uber's CTO and one of its board members, might be put under the microscope.
  • Deutsche Bank reaches $170 million Euribor-rigging settlement

    Deutsche Bank reaches $170 million Euribor-rigging settlement

    Norges Bank acquired a new position in shares of Deutsche Bank AG during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $570,224,000. Royal Bank Of Canada reaffirmed a "sector perform" rating on shares of Deutsche Bank AG in a research note on Monday, March 6th.
    PM Lee denies claims made by siblings

    PM Lee denies claims made by siblings

    The statement by Dr Lee and Mr Lee, titled "What has happened to Lee Kuan Yew's values?" was published on their Facebook pages . They also said, based on their interactions, that PM Lee and his wife "harbour political ambitions for their son, Li Hongyi".
    Golden State Warriors beat Cleveland Cavaliers to win NBA title

    Golden State Warriors beat Cleveland Cavaliers to win NBA title

    Monday's loss denied the Cavaliers a chance to repeat as champions and for James to get his fourth championship ring. Durant appeared to commit his third foul on the play, but the officials let it go and the game quickly turned.
  • Cosby defense rests without calling the comedian to testify

    Cosby defense rests without calling the comedian to testify

    Next, instructions are expected to be given to the jury, which will decide on the three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He also said he gave Ms Constand three half-tablets of the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl before the "petting" began.
    Afghan President Ghani gives Taliban ultimatum

    Afghan President Ghani gives Taliban ultimatum

    Afghan President Ashraf Ghani delivers a speech Tuesday at the opening of a peace conference at the presidential palace in Kabul .

    Stephen Curry's 2nd NBA championship puts him in rare company

    The Warriors won a league-record 14 consecutive games during this year's playoffs and went 16-1 overall in the postseason. He became the third player to score 25 or more points in their first ten finals games, joining Shaq and Michael Jordan .
  • Chinese insurer reportedly detained amid financial probe

    Chinese insurer reportedly detained amid financial probe

    Anbang denied accusations in April by another magazine, Caixin , that it improperly used payments from policyholders as capital. Anbang has a reputation for unusually aggressive expansion in a Chinese insurance industry dominated by state-owned companies.
    Intel Officials Won't Publicly Testify On Private Trump Talks

    Intel Officials Won't Publicly Testify On Private Trump Talks

    HORSLEY: The acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation was also a witness before the committee today. The top Democrat on the committee said media reports that Trump tried to intervene in the probes are jarring.
    Canada condemns 'heinous' Kabul bombing

    Canada condemns 'heinous' Kabul bombing

    It was one of the worst attacks Kabul had seen since the drawdown of foreign forces from the country at the end of 2014. No group has claimed responsibility for the bombing that hit in a highly secure diplomatic area of the Afghan capital .

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.