Trump signs bill aiming to hold VA employees accountable

Posted June 26, 2017

President Donald Trump, surrounded by military families, signed into law a bill that makes it easier to fire poorly performing VA employees. The legislation fulfills a major promise made by the President on the campaign trail, frequently vowing to fire VA workers "who let our veterans down".

Trump said that "one of my great joys" during his presidential campaign was "all the time spent ... meeting with our nation's veterans".

The bill also comes three years after several veterans died while waiting for care at the Phoenix VA hospital and other centers across the country as some VA employees covered up the lengthy wait times.

Employees responsible for the faulty system - which involved a "secret waiting list" that left veterans with no care - stayed on the government payroll even after they were removed from their positions. "Outdated laws kept the government from holding those who failed our veterans accountable".

Donald Trump elected 45th president of the United States.

Arkansas' two USA senators, John Boozman of Rogers and Tom Cotton of Dardanelle, were among those standing behind Trump as he signed the bill into law Friday.

Bennet said the bill "encourages managers and patients to address poor performance and misconduct of VA employees and grants more oversight of the department".

King was among the 368 House members supporting the legislation this week - 55 opposed it - and the Senate approved it the previous week.

VA Secretary David Shulkin complained about the existing disciplinary procedures in May, calling the agency's accountability process "clearly broken".

Under the new law, protections for whistleblowers will be expanded and the VA will be prevented from dismissing an employee who has an open complaint against the department.

Shulkin pushed for this kind of reform bill during his confirmation process and in the first months of his tenure, arguing that the department was "still in critical condition" and more accountability was needed to improve the treatment veterans receive.

Also present were lawmakers who sponsored the bill, including Rep. Phil Roe (R-MD).

The VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act will give more protection to whistleblowers that bring misconduct to light.

According to Fox News, this new law helps veterans in two ways.

"The good news is the vast, vast majority of VA employees do a tremendous job and work so so very hard to try and do their best in serving veterans".