Walorski Votes to Support Veterans Affairs Accountability

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Co-sponsored H.R. 4031 to provide VA with greater authority to fire negligent employees and asked President Obama for greater urgency towards VA mismanagement

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

H.R. 4031, the “Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014,” which Walorski co-sponsored, would provide the VA Secretary with the ability to fire employees from the Senior Executive Service (SES) due to poor performance.

“While the vast majority of VA’s more than 300,000 employees are hardworking and dedicated, the department’s well-documented reluctance to ensure its leaders are held accountable for mistakes is tarnishing the reputation of the organization,” Walorski said.

“Giving the VA the authority to fire those employees responsible for historic failures within the department is the right thing to do.”

Recent reports have linked many VA patient care problems to widespread mismanagement within VA facilities, including at least 13 wrongful deaths at VA medical centers in Indiana[i]. In many cases, senior department executives who preside over negligence and mismanagement, including preventable deaths, patient safety and mismanagement, are more likely to receive a bonus than receive punishment.[ii] [iii]

Earlier today, President Obama addressed the allegations of VA abuse across the country and said he would wait for reports from the Inspector General before making a final determination.

Walorski said veterans deserve a sense of urgency from the White House.

“How many reports and investigations need to be conducted to show the President the wrongdoing at the VA? My colleagues and I on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee have subpoenaed documentation from Secretary Shinseki and eight other VA officials, related to the Phoenix VAMC,” Walorski said. “On behalf of our nation’s veterans and their families we should all be embarrassed by the lack of accountability at the VA.”

The measure passed by a vote of 390-33 and now heads to the Senate for further consideration.

Last month, Walorski joined Speaker Boehner and fellow GOP lawmakers in supporting greater VA accountability.

Last week, Walorski voted along with her fellow colleagues on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee to subpoena documentation from Secretary Shinseki and eight other VA officials, related to the Phoenix VAMC.

Walorski joined the American Legion in calling for the resignation of Secretary Shinseki and wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to immediately ask for the resignation of Shinseki and Under Secretary Hickey.

Walorski’s remarks on the House floor today can be found here.

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i http://cironline.org/reports/va-pays-out-200-million-nearly-1000-veterans%E2%80%99-wrongful-deaths-6236

ii http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/wp/2013/08/23/gao-va-gave-doctors-bonus-pay-without-a-clear-link-to-performance/

iii http://washingtonexaminer.com/veterans-secretary-eric-shinseki-defends-bonuses-despite-patient-deaths-and-disability-claims-backlogs/article/2543684

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