House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) spoke on the House floor earlier today in support of the VA Accountability First Act of 2017 (H.R. 1259), which passed the House moments ago.
Introduced by Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN), Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, the bill provides the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) increased flexibility to remove, demote, or suspend any VA employee for performance or misconduct and recoup bonuses provided to poorly performing employees and those who engaged in misconduct prior to receiving the bonus.
McMorris Rodgers’s Remarks, as Delivered:
The way a grateful nation shows its appreciation to those who have served is to make sure that they get the care that they need when the time comes.
Every day, veterans contact my office seeking help to address their concerns and help them navigate the VA.
The VA has one job. It’s sole mission is to serve our veterans, our heroes.
But it’s clear too often this agency has become disconnected from its mission.
When a veteran contacts the VA, they should have the red carpet rolled out for them and be treated like heroes. Instead, they feel like they are a burden.
The VA Accountability First Act is one of many needed reforms. And it’s common sense.
If you are involved in misconduct, you should be demoted, suspended, or fired. You shouldn’t get a pay raise or a bonus.
If you are a whistleblower, you should be protected.
And the Secretary of the VA should have flexibility to hold staff accountable.
I thank Chairman Roe and the Committee for your work to create a culture of accountability at the VA.
With your leadership, and our partners, I’m confident we will see some positive disruptions that put our veterans first.