VA Secretary Says Department Is Working Closely With Congress on Firing Bill
Government Executive Management
February 23, 2017
Congress and the Trump administration are working closely on a bill to make it easier to fire employees at the Veterans Affairs Department, according to the agency’s new leader.
VA is working with both the House and Senate in drafting an accountability bill, department Secretary David Shulkin told Fox and Friends in a segment aired Thursday. The measure would make it certain that any employee not fit for the VA would no longer work for it, Shulkin said.
“I’m working now, closely, with the Congress, both the House and the Senate, to make sure we have an accountability bill that allows us to make sure that if people shouldn’t be working in the VA, they won’t be working in the VA,” the secretary said.
Pete Hegseth, former head of Concerned Veterans for America and previously under consideration for the VA secretary position, conducted the interview and pushed Shulkin to move past previous rhetoric and actually take action to rid the VA ranks of problem employees.
“Watch us,” Shulkin said. “People who don’t show up to work, who do cocaine, who are watching porn at work are going to be fired because I’m not going to tolerate it and they’re going to be out of our system.”
Shulkin explained he was prioritizing the issue because it helps not only veterans, but also the rest of the VA workforce.
“When you have one or two or three people not doing their job, they bring everybody down,” he said.
The Trump administration is likely to find a warm reception from many key stakeholders as it pursues a loosening of the strict civil service laws that often make disciplining federal employees a laborious process. President Obama signed a law in 2014 as part of a larger, bipartisan VA reform bill to hasten the firing of VA’s senior executives, but that provision is no longer being enforced after a legal challenge. A spokeswoman for Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said the panel is planning to address the accountability issue as “one of the committee’s top priorities.”
Read the article HERE.
Current press releases from VA bring hope of better services:
VA offering up to $8 million in grants for adaptive-sports programs that aid disabled Veterans – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is providing up to $8 million in grants to fund adaptive-sports programs that offer activities for disabled Veterans and members of the armed forces who have disabilities, VA announced Feb. 22. (2/22/17)
Also the VA Inspector General is coming down like the Hammer of Thor on those misusing, abusing, and getting wealthy off the system for at least the last year. You can see a large list of current actions HERE. The more they bring down those who are ripping off the VA system, hopefully the better quality of care for veterans. Oversight reports can be found HERE if curious.
Here are examples:
Not only did Dr, Shulkin come with high praise and recommendations but in one of the rare moments during this cycle, congress stood 100% behind his confirmation. He is the first non-veteran doctor to hold the position.
Goodness knows for many long years veterans have received declining and often criminally suspect care. I watched friends and uncles deal with this since their WWII days often with less than adequate help.
IF congress can make this a priority and get this completed this year, then, in my eyes as one of many family members affected and those of veterans, they will have accomplished a major goal.
As for the unions they need to be told to go suck a year-old egg. The government employees within the VA are supposed to be there FOR veterans not to hide out or to rip off drugs. No longer should unions have the same pull as they did the last eight years, our veterans deserve better.