Today, Chairman Jeff Miller released the below statement regarding the latest veteran suicide data from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Any time a person who fought to defend America dies by their own hand, it’s a tragedy. And these numbers are heartbreaking proof that we have a long way to go in order to end this troubling trend. Last year, Congress passed and President Obama signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, which is helping to increase the availability and efficacy of VA’s suicide prevention and mental health services. The law is a step in the right direction, but sustained progress will require a comprehensive approach to help ensure our most at-risk veterans have not only the care they need but also a job, a purpose and a system of support in place to help carry them through their struggles. Therefore, we as a nation must do more to encourage veterans in need to seek treatment and ask for help. And until we stop the epidemic of veteran suicides in this country, there will always be more work to do.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ AffairsRead More
Yesterday, Chairman Jeff Miller introduced H.R. 5620, the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016. The bill would strengthen protections for whistleblowers and help fix the Department of Veterans Affairs’ biggest problem – its pervasive lack of accountability for misbehaving employees. Additionally, the bill would reform the department’s disability benefits appeals process – a top priority for VA leaders and many veterans service organizations. Specifically, the bill would:
“The biggest obstacle standing in the way of VA reform is the department’s pervasive lack of accountability among employees at all levels. Until this problem is fixed once and for all, long-term efforts to reform VA are doomed to fail. For too long, union bosses, administration officials and their enablers have used every trick in the book to help VA bureaucrats who can’t or won’t do their jobs remain firmly entrenched in the agency’s bureaucracy. The VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016 gets rid of these loopholes, which have been unfairly forcing veterans and the many good VA workers to deal with deadwood employees for years. Union bosses and defenders of the broken status quo will oppose this bill, and that is exactly why it must become law.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Read the bill here.Read More
“While the Commission on Care’s nearly 300-page report will take time to completely review and digest, the document makes it abundantly clear that the problems plaguing Department of Veterans Affairs medical care are severe. Fixing them will require dramatic changes in how VA does business, to include expanding partnerships with community providers in order to give veterans more health care choices. I thank the commissioners for their work on this important project, and I look forward to examining this report in detail at a House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs hearing in September.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
Today the House passed three veterans related bills, including:
H.R. 4590, the Fiscal Year 2016 Department of Veterans Affairs Seismic Safety and Construction Authorization Act, as amended, would authorize a number of major medical facility construction projects to improve safety issues at facilities that are at high-risk for earthquakes. It would also require a greater accounting of VA construction expenditures.
H.R. 3936, the VET Act, as amended, would authorize a three-year pilot program for Veteran Engagement Teams, which would allow VA employees to meet one-on-one with veterans to help facilitate the claims process for veterans benefits.
These bills now await consideration by the Senate. Following House passage of the bills, Chairman Miller released the below statement.
“I applaud the House’s actions today to improve VA’s claims processing efforts and add additional transparency to the department’s construction operations. These bills would help improve veterans’ experiences while encouraging a more functional and efficient VA, and I urge the Senate to consider them in short order.” - Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans' AffairsRead More
Chairman Jeff Miller released the following statement today regarding the Department of Veterans Affairs’ refusal to use expanded legal authorities that enable the VA secretary to swiftly discipline senior executives for cause.
“Everyone knows VA isn’t very good at disciplining employees, but this decision calls into question whether department leaders are even interested in doing so. After all, VA is a place where egregious employee behavior, such as armed robbery participation and wait-time manipulation, is routinely tolerated. This decision underscores the urgent need for civil-service reform across the federal government that enables leaders to swiftly and efficiently discipline those who can’t or won’t do their jobs – an ability that is presently almost nonexistent.”- Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs
April 25, 2016
The New York Times
April 22, 2015Read More
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