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

  • Sessions' testimony on Tuesday will be public

    Sessions' testimony on Tuesday will be public

    Third, it says he was involved in the firing of Comey, and the president said Comey was sacked because of Russian Federation . Feinstein is the top Democrat on that panel and a member of both.

    Rafael Nadal Defeats Wawrinka to win 10th French Open Title

    Spain's Rafael Nadal defeated Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 on Sunday to win the French Open for a record 10th time. I am enjoying every week, and I want to continue and I'm going to try to keep working hard to try to enjoy more lovely weeks".

    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.
  • "We are not winning in Afghanistan" - US Defense Secretary Mattis

    He said he had expected the plan in the first 30 to 60 days of the new administration and snapped: "We want a strategy". The official also said that the USA estimates there are still several hundred ISIS fighters in eastern Afghanistan .

    Sessions Denies Collusion Allegations, Defends Involvement With Comey Ouster

    Asked to explain his decision, the attorney general said he believed he had to recuse himself under Department of Justice rules. But Sessions said that despite his sense of problems at the Federal Bureau of Investigation , he never raised that with Comey.
    Otta Warmbier Release from North Korea

    Otta Warmbier Release from North Korea

    The Trump administration should also consider punitive steps against Iran over the incarceration of Levinson and other Americans. Tillerson added that discussions are still ongoing with North Korea "regarding three other USA citizens reported detained".
  • 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.
    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 .
  • Attorneys general to sue over foreign payments to Trump hotels, sources say

    Shortly after taking office, Trump promised that all profits derived from foreign governments would be donated to the Treasury. Jancek also told The New York Times that Democrats should: "end their efforts to delegitimize his ( Trump's ) presidency".
    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 .

    Tillerson: North Korea Releases Cincinnati Student Otto Warmbier

    USA officials appeared to brush aside any speculation of a connection between Rodman's controversial visit and Warmbier's release. He said that he had been offered a auto and membership in a secret society at his school if he brought the political banner home.

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.