Right Hooks

Finally, Progress at the VA

Congress sends an accountability measure to Trump's desk, but there is more work to be done to help our veterans.

Jordan Candler · Jun. 14, 2017

Good news: There’s hope that genuine reform is finally underway at the Department of Veterans Affairs. With a 368-55 House vote on Tuesday, Congress sent to Donald Trump’s desk an inceptive overhaul that raises the bar for employee performance. The record of impropriety on the account of workers at the VA is long and arduous. Most disturbing of all, accountability up until now was almost entirely missing.

The sad truth of the matter is that whistleblowers faced greater rancor than those perpetrating the crimes. Congress’s newly passed legislation, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, rectifies this by incorporating better ability to fire workers and ending the witch hunt against good Samaritans. According to Trump, “I look forward to signing it!” There is more work to be done, however, and this week’s overhaul is an initial phase.

According to the Associated Press, “Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., who chairs the House Veterans Affairs Committee, described the legislation as a necessary first step in overhauling the VA. Congress will soon take up legislation to give veterans expanded access to doctors outside the VA.” This is just as, if not more, important. Wait times are an enormous problem, so flexibility and better options would help tremendously. Congress did well with this week’s reform, but the important thing is that it not stop now.

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