Barletta Backs Accountability at Dept. of Veterans Affairs
WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today supported legislation to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the wake of scandalous revelations of lengthy wait times for health care services, which resulted in the deaths of numerous veterans. The VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016 (H.R. 5620) provides the Secretary of Veterans Affairs the flexibility to remove VA employees for misconduct and also strengthens whistleblower protections. The bill also allows the restriction of bonuses for supervisors who retaliate against whistleblowers. The bill passed the House of a vote of 310-to-116 and now heads to the Senate for its consideration.
Barletta issued the following statement:
“Like most Americans, I was horrified to learn of the deplorable treatment too many veterans were receiving from the VA, and was then infuriated to find out that there was little or no recourse against those who had committed the wrongdoing. Our veterans and their families have sacrificed so that the rest of us may remain free in the greatest nation the world has ever known. We owe them a debt we can never fully repay, but one way we can show our appreciation is to ensure they have the best medical care in existence.
“This legislation will provide much-needed authority to make sure that problem employees are dealt with and that those who call attention to problems are protected. Whistleblowers who are looking out for the welfare of military veterans should not have to fear retaliation, and those who are causing the problems should not be free to continue their employment. This bill represents a good first step to restoring credibility to the VA and ensuring that any future issues can be handled quickly and out in the open.”