A year ago, Americans woke to the headlines of a secret list of veterans waiting to receive healthcare at a Phoenix Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital and the resignation of VA Secretary and Retired Gen. Eric Shinseki. Veteran patients died while waiting for care and the sacred bond between our government and its war veterans was shattered.
In June 2014, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) called on President Obama and Congress to execute a new Marshall Plan for Veterans: a bold, comprehensive effort to restore confidence in the VA. As part of that plan, IAVA called for full criminal investigations for those bad actors who ruined the reputation of the VA and harmed its veteran patients. Those who have violated America’s sacred trust with our veterans must be held accountable, which is why IAVA supports H.R. 1994 — the VA Accountability Act of 2015 — introduced by House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.).
The bipartisan legislation would build on the provision of the Veterans’ Access to Choice and Accountability Act (VACAA), passed last summer, giving the VA secretary the power to remove Senior Executive Service (upper management personnel) for poor performance or misconduct. The new legislation would expand that power further for the greater VA workforce, giving the secretary increased authority to remove those employees who are not meeting the standards of service that veterans deserve. Additionally, the legislation would shorten the appeal period and end what many veterans believe is a never-ending process to remove employees that may be damaging the department’s reputation and, even worse, putting veterans at risk.