WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Chairman Jeff Miller released the following statement regarding the VA OIG report on inappropriate use of position and misuse of relocation program and incentives in VBA.
“I am not surprised that the IG has confirmed our biggest fears about VBA’s relocation expenses program. The IG’s report proves that VA’s corrosive culture extends to the highest levels of VBA leadership and must be immediately rooted out once and for all. This report is simply the latest in a long line of investigations showing VA officials helping themselves instead of helping America’s veterans.
“Ms. Rubens and Ms. Graves were placed in positions of authority and given the trust of the American people to properly serve the men and women who have served our Nation. They have violated that trust and must be held accountable for their actions. I expect the U.S. Attorney’s Office will consider the criminal referral and if warranted, I would expect all parties to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Additionally, I am examining whether VA officials misled the Committee at the hearing on April 22, 2015, regarding Ms. Rubens’ relocation.
“It is clear from this report that Under Secretary Hickey and others in VA leadership knew they could use fear, intimidation, and timely relocation incentives to coerce subordinates to relocate to jobs they didn’t apply for at the taxpayers’ expense. These VA managers knew what they were doing and it is clear that from day one that VA officials were using the relocation expenses program to enrich themselves. The actions of the individuals uncovered by this report are a discredit to VA employees and veterans.
“I am especially disappointed in Under Secretary Hickey and other senior VA managers for approving these moves since they were not done in the interests of VBA’s mission but were instead in the best interests of the individuals, and unfortunately once again veterans and taxpayers were left footing the bill. I encourage Secretary McDonald to utilize every tool available to him to ensure that these VA managers and leaders are immediately held accountable for their actions.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Chairman Jeff Miller released the following statement regarding Senate passage of legislation to authorize completion of the Denver VA Medical Center.
“The Department of Veterans Affairs’ replacement hospital in Denver has become the biggest construction failure in VA history, ballooning from $328 million to $1.675 billion. The bill passed today in the Senate presumes $200 million of VA’s proposed $625 million in offsets are acceptable – offsets paid for through cuts to medical services and delayed facility costs that will simply be requested next year. These cuts would only serve to punish our Nation’s veterans and taxpayers for VA’s incompetence. The bill also fails to address the lack of accountability that has plagued the department for years. The executives responsible for this disaster collected massive bonuses as project costs skyrocketed and delays stretched on for years. Yet instead of being fired, they have retired with full benefits.
“On Tuesday, the House will consider a separate measure to authorize funding for the replacement hospital which would include meaningful offsets and accountability measures completely absent in the Senate-passed bill. The solution I have introduced will cap VA bonuses, diverting $200 million to fix the mess the department created. It will also permit the VA Secretary to recoup the wholly unwarranted bonuses that VA has become known for and will permit VA to recoup pension benefits from employees convicted of felonies related to their duties.
“Congress will not allow the Denver hospital to remain unfinished, but we must find a way forward that assures American veterans and America’s taxpayers are not left holding the bag. The Senate bill assures neither.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
September 15, 2015
H.R. 3595 - To extend the authorization to carry out the replacement of the existing medical center of the Department of Veterans Affairs in Denver, Colorado, and for other purposes (Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Miller / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Chairman Jeff Miller (House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs) and Chairman Johnny Isakson (Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs) released the following joint statement on the Independent Assessments created under Section 201 of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014.
“When we requested an independent assessment over a year ago, many of the failures at individual hospitals were well-documented. However, we all feared that they were just the tip of the iceberg. This in-depth review justifies those fears, and validates Congress’ efforts for years to investigate and uncover the many serious issues preventing the Department of Veterans Affairs from providing America’s veterans with quality, timely healthcare. The VA can no longer deny that its problems, as outlined in this report, are deep-seated and systemic. From delays in care and scandal cover-ups, to rampant unaccountability and a lack of leadership, the VA is an organization challenged at every level.
“This is not just another report to sit on a shelf collecting dust. Failing to act on its findings would be a great disservice to the men and women who have worn the uniform and to the values that make our nation great.
“We know that the Commission on Care will be closely examining these assessments and recommendations, and we look forward to the commission’s plan to end this continuing national tragedy. As the assessment confirms, fixing the VA will require a lot of time and hard work. This report is yet another reminder that it is far past time for President Obama to come to the table and work with Congress to transform the VA into an organization worthy of those it serves.”
335 Cannon HOB
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