VA Secretary Poised to Have Full Authority to Fire or Demote VA Employees
“I want Sec. McDonald to know the Senate Appropriations Committee has already voted unanimously to give the VA Secretary the flexibility he needs to make certain VA personnel are held accountable”
Nov 10 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate is poised to pass appropriations bills in the coming months, including the Fiscal Year 2015 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. The MilCon-VA appropriations bill includes an amendment offered by U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – a member of both the Senate Veterans’ Affairs (VA) Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee – that gives the VA Secretary complete authority to fire or demote VA Senior Executive Service (SES) or equivalent employees based on performance. In May, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted unanimously in favor of Sen. Moran’s VA Management Accountability Act of 2014 amendment included in the FY2015 MilCon-VA appropriations bill.
On CNN’s Wolf on Monday, VA Secretary Bob McDonald stated that he still does not have the authority to expedite the disciplining of VA employees suspected of wrongdoing. “I am following the law,” Sec. McDonald said. “If Congress wants me to follow a different procedure, they have to pass a new law. The only thing the new law did was take the appeal time and cut it in half.”
“I want Sec. McDonald to know that the Senate Appropriations Committee has already voted unanimously to give the VA Secretary the flexibility he needs to make certain VA personnel are held accountable,” Sen. Moran responded. “VA personnel should be accountable for their actions; otherwise the current bureaucratic system of mediocrity and failure will remain. Unlike the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 (VACAA) provisions regarding the removal of employees who are liable for misconduct, this amendment will help make certain those who violate VA policy and affect the quality of life for veterans are held responsible and can be removed from the VA system. I fully support empowering Sec. McDonald to remove employees who do not follow VA’s values and expect that he will use this authority as he has unequivocally requested.”
The VA Management Accountability Act of 2014, which Sen. Moran’s amendment was based on, was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in May by a vote of 390 to 33. The legislation was originally introduced in the House by the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) and in the Senate by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Sen. Moran is a cosponsor.
Sen. Moran has been a member of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees for 18 years, chaired the Health Subcommittee in the House for two years, and has worked with nine VA Secretaries. He was the first U.S. Senator to call for Secretary Shinseki to resign amidst ongoing systemic dysfunction within the VA system.
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