Accountability for our Veterans
Washington, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives approved S. 1094, the “Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act,” which will now go to the President’s desk for signature. The legislation provides the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with the authority to expeditiously remove, demote, or suspend any VA employee, including Senior Executive Service (SES) employees, based on performance or misconduct. It is estimated by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) that, on average, it takes six months to a year to remove a permanent civil servant in the Federal Government – and in many cases could take longer if achieved at all.
“There are a great many things on which we as Americans agree – irrespective of our differences – and delivering on the promises we’ve made to our veterans is one of those shared beliefs,” said Woodall. “As its name suggests, this bill is about accountability and procedural integrity, and it’s an enormous step in the right direction. The overwhelming percentage of employees at the VA are remarkably committed public servants, so that makes it all the more important to ensure that they are not also harmed or hindered by the negligent actions of a few. I’m proud of the bicameral work that’s been done to get us to this point, and I look forward to seeing the President sign this measure into law soon.”
S. 1094 builds upon the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability (Choice) Act, which was signed into law in 2014 to address systemic flaws in multiple VA facilities, by codifying additional policies that are currently being implemented at the regulatory level. The action is one Woodall sees as critical to delivering long-term certainty and peace of mind for veterans, employees, and taxpayers alike.
“Federal red tape should never stand between a veteran and the best possible care, and it certainly shouldn’t protect misconduct. Today’s vote moves these common sense principles one step closer to the finish line,” Woodall added.
Having cleared both the House and Senate, the measure is expected to be signed into law by President Trump.
Congressman Woodall represents the Seventh Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, and currently serves as Chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, as well as serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Budget Committee.