New bill will make it swifter to terminate bad VA employees

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The full Senate will vote Tuesday on legislation that would shake up hiring and firing employees at the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. The bill would expedite the process by which employees of the department, including executives, are dismissed and taken off the payroll when fired, in the event they contest their dismissal.

The legislation follows from numerous scandals centered around employee misconduct at the VA including the manipulation of waiting lists for veterans in need of treatment, the failure to share important data, and poor adherence to health standards.

The bill, titled the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, seeks to address issues in the existing civil service system making it too cumbersome to quickly fire incompetent employees.

Naturally, public employee unions vehemently oppose the legislation.

“We are sick and tired of the political witch hunt unfolding before our eyes in Congress. Federal public servants are under constant attack because of the narrow agendas of insiders on Capitol Hill, and the latest salvo makes a terrible idea even worse,” said American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr.

Nonetheless, co-sponsor Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) plans to move forward, and is pleased with the bipartisan progress the bill has made:

“I am thrilled to see the Senate moving quickly on this important piece of legislation, and I encourage my colleagues to support this measure as we take steps to change the culture at the VA and improve care for our veterans. I thank Majority Leader [Mitch] McConnell, R-Ky., for his commitment to ensuring our veterans receive the quality care that they deserve.”

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