Walorski Votes to Support Veteran Affairs Accountability

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Co-sponsored H.R. 1994 to provide VA with greater authority to fire negligent employees

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-02), a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, voted to support legislation to bring greater accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Last year, reports linked many VA patient care problems to widespread mismanagement within VA facilities, including at least 13 wrongful deaths at VA medical centers in Indiana. In many cases, it was found that senior department executives who presided over negligence and mismanagement, including preventable deaths, patient safety and mismanagement, were more likely to receive a bonus than receive punishment. To date, the VA has succeeded in firing only three employees due to wait time manipulation.

H.R. 1994, the Veterans Affairs Accountability Act of 2015, which Walorski co-sponsored, builds upon last year’s law to provide the VA secretary with the ability to fire employees from the Senior Executive Service (SES) due to poor performance.

“Many of the VA’s 300,000 employees do a great job, however the department’s inability to hold negligent employees accountable for mistakes is concerning,” Walorski said. “The VA Accountability Act expands on last year’s law to allow the secretary to fire or demote any VA employee for misconduct while ensuring whistleblowers are protected. Hard-working Hoosiers understand the merits of being held accountable for their performance at work and it’s vital to apply those same standards and change the protectionist culture at the VA.”

Watch Walorski’s floor remarks here

In addition, Walorski supported several measures this week to improve the lives of veterans across the country including:

  • H.R. 2499, the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act of 2015, eliminates up-front fees for veterans and their spouses when they receive an SBA loan guarantee.
  • H. J. Res. 61, the Hire More Heroes Act of 2015, would incentivize businesses to hire more veterans by excluding them from being counted towards the number of employees (only if they have insurance coverage through DOD or VA) under the healthcare law’s employer mandate.
  • H.R. 675, the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2015, would increase the rates of VA disability compensation, dependency compensation for surviving children and spouses, and the clothing allowance for veterans.

The Veterans Affairs Accountability Act of 2015 passed by a vote of 256-170 and now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District in Indiana, where she serves as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee, and House Committee on Agriculture.

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