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Congressman Ralph Abraham

Representing the 5th District of Louisiana

Abraham votes for VA Accountability Act

July 29, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congressman Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-Alto, helped pass the VA Accountability Act of 2015 on Wednesday, July 29.

Dr. Abraham was an original cosponsor of the legislation authored by House Committee on Veterans Affairs chairman Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla.

“In my role as the chairman of the Veterans Affairs subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs, I spend most days working to reform the dysfunctional Department of Veterans Affairs. I’ve led hearings where we’ve heard about manipulated wait times, the broken appeals system and billions in wasted money. A recurring theme from the VA has been that it’s too hard to fire the people who are responsible for these problems.

“The VA Accountability Act gives the department the power it says it needs to hold employees accountable. Too many in that department have forgotten that they work for the veteran, not the other way around. This bill can bring the reform the VA desperately needs so that we can finally bring some positive changes and get our American heroes the care they deserve,” Dr. Abraham said.

More information about the bill can be found here.

Dr. Abraham spoke in favor of the VA Accountability Act on the House floor. You can view his remarks here. Or, read his remarks below in italics:

 

Mr. Speaker,

Thank you, Mr. chairman, for bringing up this bill which will be life-saving for some of our nation's heroes. I rise in support of the VA Accountability Act of 2015. I'm a proud original co-sponsor of the bill. I believe this legislation is vital in rooting out the pervasive bureaucracy that plagues the federal government that is a direct result of the broken system.

We have seen instances where a VA employee took a patient to a crack house to get a fix. It took an entire year for that employee to be fired. An entire year. As a direct result of this broken system, we have seen senior employees caught participating in retaliation against whistleblowers, only to remain on the job. As a direct result of this broken system, we have seen employees who are caught manipulating veterans’ disability claims. You know what happened to employees? They were promoted. They received bonuses. This is unacceptable on so many levels and it's time for it to stop.

We have to make the VA work for the veterans. The current law protects those who have forgotten they work for the veteran, not the other way around. Even the Veterans Affairs Department's own deputy secretary, Sloan Gibson, as you heard before, recently admitted that it's too hard to fire someone at the VA. There's no excuse for those who fail to do their job and then get promoted. None.

HR 1994 is a giant step forward in ensure that good employees are protected, ensuring that whistleblowers are protected, and most importantly, that our nation's heroes are protected. I urge my colleagues to stand up for the veterans who have to stand up for us by supporting VA Accountability Act of 2015.

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