Trump signs 'historic' bill to transform VA

Justin Greene
June 24, 2017

"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 Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act is created to bring accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs by expediting the firing process for poorly performing employees, and ensuring appropriate protections for whistleblowers. It passed the Senate by a unanimous voice vote.

"As you all know all too well, for many years the government failed to keep its promises to our veterans". Montana Sen. Jon Tester said the bill "will protect whistleblowers from the threat of retaliation".

The new law gives Shulkin and future VA secretaries the power to get rid of employees who break department rules and increases whistleblower protections.

The measure makes it easier to fire workers for misconduct and provides additional protections for whistleblowers.

Concerned Veterans for America launched a massive grassroots effort to garner support for this bill, holding events across the country, making hundreds of thousands of phone calls to Congressional offices and launching online ads targeting all lawmakers to support it. "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".

The Veterans Affairs bill was backed by Shulkin, who had called the department's employee accountability process "clearly broken". VA executives would be held to a tougher standard than rank-and-file employees. By signing this important piece of legislation into law, we will be one step closer to reforming VA for once and for all.

Trump repeatedly promised on the campaign trail to improve health care services for veterans and the efficiency of the agency, which was rocked by scandal several years ago. "It makes it just as easy to fire a good employee, an innocent employee, as it will be to fire a bad employee".

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.

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