After Passing Senate, House Sends Major VA Accountability Bill To Trump’s Desk


The House has overwhelmingly voted to send a bill allowing incompetent VA employees to be fired more easily to President Donald Trump’s desk, following its approval from the Senate.

Both Trump and Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin have urged Congress to pass the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, empowering Shulkin to fire poorly performing employees.

“Senate passed the VA Accountability Act. The House should get this bill to my desk ASAP! We can’t tolerate substandard care for our vets,” Trump tweeted last week.

Now, the House has fulfilled that wish.

In effect, the bill decreases the time needed to fire incompetent employees and also removes their paycheck during any appeal processes, which under the bill won’t be allowed to exceed a maximum of 180 days. Moreover, Shulkin will have new authority to fire senior executives within a 21-day time period. The legislation also allows the VA to claw back bonuses given to employees convicted of a job-related felony.

In anticipation of the bill’s passage, House Speaker Paul Ryan appeared on The Hugh Hewitt show Tuesday morning to emphasize that VA accountability is one of the most important promises to make good on.

“So this protects whistleblowers who tell about these things,” Ryan said of the bill. “It protects the whistleblowers who uncover these scandals, and it gives us, the government, and the VA Secretary, the ability to fire people if they’re not doing their jobs. So it basically gives us the ability to hold the people of the VA accountable for doing their jobs and giving the veterans the service they deserve, and then protects the kind of transparency and whistleblower system we need so that we can make sure that this kind of scandal can’t be brushed under the rug again.”

Shulkin has emphasized the importance of the bill because the department is unable to effectively remove employees like senior interior designer Brittney Lowe at the Memphis VA. The Daily Caller News Foundation reported that Lowe has been convicted of driving under the influence three times, and after her latest conviction, she served 60 days in jail before returning to work with no issue.

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