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Congressman Dan Donovan

Representing the 11th District of New York

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Donovan, House Pass Bill To Improve VA Accountability

June 13, 2017
Press Release
Legislation institutes necessary reforms to improve veteran care by strengthening VA employee accountability standards

Washington, DC—June 13, 2017…. Continuing his work to improve medical care and services for those who bravely served our country, Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) today voted to help pass the Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017. This bipartisan bill institutes necessary reforms to increase accountability within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by streamlining the process to remove, demote, or suspend VA employees for poor performance or misconduct.

Congressman Donovan said, “No employee should be immune from workplace consequences simply because they are a government employee. In fact, those who take care of our veterans – who sacrificed to protect our way of life – should be held to an even higher standard. This legislation institutes necessary reforms to help fix longstanding accountability problems that plague the VA to ensure veterans receive the quality care they earned, and I look forward to seeing this bill swiftly signed into law.”

The Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 provides the VA Secretary with authority to hold individuals who are not fulfilling their duties accountable for their actions, recoup taxpayer-funded bonuses from employees who have acted improperly, and appoint permanent, well-qualified medical directors. Additionally, the bill expands protections for whistleblowers to help ensure that those who expose wrongdoing within the VA are properly safeguarded from retaliation.

In recent years, the VA’s lack of effective accountability rules and mechanisms hampered its ability to dismiss an employee that engaged in armed robbery, discipline a VA nurse that participated in a surgery while intoxicated, and reprimand employees who continually mismanaged major construction projects. 

The bill has received strong support from veterans groups, including the American Legion, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, American Veterans, and Military Officers Association of America.

Supporting this legislation is part of Donovan’s continued commitment to improve veteran care and services. In April, Donovan voted to extend the Veterans Choice Program (VCP) to help ensure veterans have better access to quality and timely medical care. Additionally, Donovan has held multiple veterans roundtables in NY-11 to highlight issues and discuss solutions to problems faced by those who served our country.

The bill will now go to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

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