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
Chairman Jeff Miller released the following statement today regarding recent firings at the Phoenix VA Health Care System more than two years after the facility’s wait-time scandal became public.
“This decision is the right one for veterans and taxpayers. Deputy Secretary Gibson is correct in saying the process took ‘far too long.’ That’s why the Senate must follow the House’s lead and act to fix the outright dysfunction inherent in our federal civil service rules, which put the job security of VA bureaucrats ahead of the veterans they are charged with serving. The House addressed this issue head-on last July by passing the VA Accountability Act, and it’s well past time for the Senate to get behind this commonsense proposal. In the meantime, VA – forced to tolerate misbehavior throughout its ranks – will continue to lurch from one scandal to another, and veterans will pay the price.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
The VA Accountability Act (H.R. 1994) passed the House in July of 2015 and is pending in the Senate. It would give the VA secretary the authority to swiftly fire or demote any employee for poor performance or misconduct while protecting whistleblowers and limiting the agency’s ability to place misbehaving employees on paid leave. It would also give VA the ability to recover annuities on pensions of VA senior executives convicted of felonies committed on the job.Read More
Chairman Jeff Miller released the following statement today regarding the Justice Department’s legal advocacy for Department of Veterans Affairs felon Sharon Helman.
“I’m outraged by the Obama administration’s decision, which is remarkably hypocritical given the fact that President Obama enthusiastically supported this law. The effect of this reckless action is clear: it undermines very modest reforms to our broken civil service system supported in 2014 by the president and an overwhelming majority of Congress. Today, the Obama administration sent a message loud and clear to felons and those with felonious tendencies everywhere: you will be coddled and protected at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which even before this decision was routinely tolerating egregious behavior among employees such as armed robbery participation and wait-time manipulation. This decision only 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. While this matter is still pending in federal court, we will immediately begin exploring legislative remedies to thwart the Obama administration’s blatant advocacy on behalf of those whose mismanagement, malfeasance and crimes may have contributed to veteran and taxpayer harm.” - Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs
Sharon Helman, Ex-VA Chief in Phoenix, Pleads Guilty to Felony Charge Phoenix New Times March 1, 2016
President Obama Heaps Praise on Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act The White House Aug. 7, 2016
Employees Can Be Involved in Armed Robberies as Long as It's On Their Own Time, VA Says Government Executive April 25, 2016
Few People Lost Jobs with VA Scandal The New York Times April 22, 2015Read More
Chairman Jeff Miller released the following statement today in honor of Memorial Day 2016:
“Today, we pause to reflect on and celebrate the service of those who made the ultimate sacrifice while wearing the uniform of our nation. From its inception and to this day, America has been graced with courageous men and women willing to give their lives in defense of our country and all it stands for. We owe these brave souls a debt that can never be repaid. That is precisely why we honor them today and every day, while striving to care for the loved ones they have left behind.” - Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs
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