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Abraham cosponsors VA Accountability Act

April 23, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto, joined House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (HVAC) chairman Congressman Jeff Miller as an original co-sponsor on legislation that will make major strides in reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Miller planned to introduce the VA Accountability Act on Thursday, April 23. The bill would give the VA more flexibility to fire problem employees who are contributing to the systemic problems inherent in the department.

As the chairman of the HVAC subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, Dr. Abraham is one of the leading voices in Washington calling for reforms in the VA so that America’s heroes can get the medical care and benefits they’re entitled to. Dr. Abraham said he was proud to be an original co-sponsor of Miller’s legislation because it’s a bill that can finally bring true reform to the VA.

“It seems like every hearing we hold sheds new light on how the VA is shuffling employees around instead of terminating those who are causing the problems. This bill will give the VA the ability to hold problem employees accountable. It’s well past time we root out corruption and incompetency so we can get our heroes the care they deserve. Chairman Miller has been a tireless advocate for our veterans, and I look forward to working with him as we reform this department,” Dr. Abraham said.

The VA Accountability Act will allow the VA secretary to terminate employees based on performance and misconduct, protect whistleblowers from retribution, extend probation periods to 18 months and require the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on the VA’s use of time and resources dedicated to labor unions.

The legislation comes a day after HVAC examined the findings of a non-partisan Inspector General’s report that found:

  • Falsified wait times and wait time manipulation.
  • No officials fired for systemic mismanagement and violations.
  • A fear of retaliation among employees for acting as whistleblowers.
  • The VA spent almost $300,000 of taxpayer money to relocate a senior VA official from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia.

“Wait time manipulation is unacceptable and these VA officials need to be held accountable, not protected,” said Dr. Abraham. “After last year’s VA scandal in Phoenix, the American people made it clear to the VA that something needed to change. It is outrageous that today we still have not seen that change.”

To read the text of the VA Accountability Act, click here.

To read the Inspector General’s Report, click here.