Trump signs law to make VA more accountable for vets' care

Austin Daniel
June 24, 2017

"It's common sense - we need to hold our employees accountable for their actions if they violate the public trust, and at the same time protect whistleblowers from retaliation", Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said in a statement.

"What happened was a national disgrace", Trump said, "and yet some of the employees involved in these scandals remained on the payrolls".

Improving the scandal-ridden VA was a campaign promise of President Trump's. Outdated laws kept the government from holding those who failed our veterans accountable.

The signing is the latest step in an effort by the Trump administration to strengthen an agency that provides health care and other services to millions of military veterans.

Trump says the law represents one of the biggest reforms to the VA in a generation or more. The new law will lower the burden of proof to fire employees, allowing for dismissal even if most evidence is in a worker's favor.

WTKR notes that the bill received bipartisan support in Congress, where it passed with a vote of 368-55 in the House of Representatives.

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Federal employee unions opposed the measure. "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".

Most Americans in the workplace understand if they do not live up to the standards set by their employer, there may be consequences. The bill also saw significant approval in the Senate.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, called the bill signing "a significant step to reform the VA with a renewed goal and ability to serve our veterans". "It makes it just as easy to fire a good employee, an innocent employee, as it will be to fire a bad employee".

The act will also create a new Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection in response to concerns the new law may be used to inappropriately discipline whistleblowers, who helped expose the VA's scandals in 2014.

President Donald Trump signs the "Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017" in the East Room of the White House, Friday, June 23, 2017, in Washington.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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