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White House: Trump to sign VA accountability bill on Friday

24 June, 2017, 01:23 | Author: Melody Ballard
  • White House: Trump to sign VA accountability bill on Friday

Donald Trump promised during the presidential campaign to dismiss VA workers "who let our veterans down".

"The administration is committed to ensuring the nation's veterans have access to the care, services, and benefits they have earned", the White House said in a statement picked up by USA Today.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act hopes to solve issues at the VA through several means, one of which is giving the VA Secretary more freedom to fire employees, as well as the ability to dock bonuses and pensions of high-level officials. It passed the Senate by a unanimous voice vote.

Watch above, via The White House.

"Those entrusted with the sacred duty of serving our veterans will be held accountable for the care they provide", Mr. Trump said. Montana Sen. Jon Tester said the bill "will protect whistleblowers from the threat of retaliation". "So both parties really had to come together but finally you have a president, President Trump, that agreed with the house and senate majority to pass this". Shulkin, who served as an undersecretary in the VA in the Obama administration, supports the legislation Trump signed Friday.

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Right now, it takes up to 264 days for an appeal to move through the process when trying to remove a bad employee.

During the ceremony, Trump repeatedly thanked Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin's work on the bills. The new law also protects whistleblowers in the VA. It lowers the standard of evidence needed to fire employees.

The bill also turns another of Trump's campaign into law by creating a permanent VA accountability office, which Trump established by executive order in April. Instilling a culture of accountability at VA is the first step to bringing wholesale reform to the department, and I'm proud of the bipartisan work we put in to get this bill to President Trump's desk.

Trump has promised VA reform and greater care for USA veterans since the early days of his campaign, which followed a scandal in 2014 and changes at the department due to long wait times at some VA locations that prevented retired servicemembers from getting necessary care. Critics say few employees are fired for malfeasance.


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