WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 13, 2017)–Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) released the following statement after the House passed the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, bipartisan legislation that would reform the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by allowing the Secretary to dismiss poorly-performing employees and those who engage in misconduct while ensuring appropriate due process protections for whistleblowers. The bill now heads to the President’s desk.
“The VA’s sole mission is to serve our veterans. Yet time and time again, the Department is disconnected from that mission, treating our veterans like burdens instead of heroes. Today the House took an important step to hold those whose jobs are to serve our veterans accountable for their misconduct and for failing to maintain the standards that our servicemen and women deserve. This unified Republican government is committed to those who have sacrificed so much for our nation. I’m grateful to Chairman Roe and the Veterans Affairs’ Committee for their tireless work ensuring that our veterans have a voice and receive the care they need.”
Earlier today, McMorris Rodgers led a House Republican Leadership press conference about the need for VA reform. Click here to view her remarks.
“The way a grateful nation shows its gratitude to those who served is making sure that they get the care when they need it. …The [VA’s] sole mission is to focus on our veterans and get them the care that they need. And yet time and time again this is an agency where unfortunately we see they’re disconnected from their mission.”
“Every day, all of us have veterans that are contacting our offices with concerns, needing help. When a veteran contacts the VA, we want them to be rolling out the red carpet. Unfortunately, they encounter red tape. Instead of being treated like the heroes that they are, they feel like they’re more of a burden.”
“I’ve long said that the VA has a culture problem. Over the years we have put billions and billions of dollars into the VA, but we haven’t seen the reform.”
“[The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017] is common sense. If you’re involved in misconduct, you should be demoted, suspended, or fired. You certainly shouldn’t be getting a promotion or a pay increase. And if you’re a whistleblower, you should be protected. At the end of the day, this is about the heroes getting the care that they need.”
NOTE: Since hearing of the extensive wait times and tragic deaths at the VA, McMorris Rodgers has been a vocal champion for America’s veterans. She challenged then-Secretary McDonald when he compared VA wait times to waiting in line at Disney Land, saying “when you go to Disney you aren’t wondering if you’re going to live long enough to make it to Space Mountain.” She and Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) introduced the Faster Care for Veterans Act, which was signed into law in December, to introduce off-the-shelf self-scheduling technology to the VA. And in a Washington Post op-ed, she outlines her vision for a 21st Century VA.
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