Ken Buck Votes to Hold VA Employees Accountable
For Immediate Release
Contact: Kyle Huwa, 202-225-4676
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Ken Buck (CO-04) voted for the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016, H.R. 5620. This important legislation empowers the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to better hold VA employees accountable for their actions, ultimately improving the quality of care for veterans around the country.
“This legislation holds employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs accountable for failing our veterans. After the sacrifices our veterans have made, they deserve the best care we can offer,” Congressman Ken Buck stated.
A few years ago reports surfaced that veterans were facing extremely long wait times at VA facilities, with some even dying while waiting for care. In response Congress passed the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act (VACAA) of 2014. This legislation expanded veterans’ options for care, opening the door for non-VA providers in cases where VA facilities were too far or too crowded. It also improved accountability mechanisms within the VA, providing for easier ways to remove problem employees. Nevertheless, misconduct at the agency continued, and VA leadership often found it challenging to remove the problem employees. H.R. 5620 gives the VA Secretary greater power to hold the agency accountable. Under the legislation, the Secretary can more quickly demote and fire most employees for performance or misconduct, can reduce pensions for SES employees if they’re convicted of a felony, and can recoup bonuses, awards, and relocation expenses if the employee has engaged in fraud, waste, or malfeasance. It also offers greater protection to whistle blowers, those employees who care deeply about our veterans and bravely speak out against misconduct in the agency.
H.R. 5620 will now go to the Senate for consideration.
Rep. Ken Buck (CO-04) is the Freshman Class President. He serves on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He serves on the OGR Subcommittees on Government Operations and the Interior and is a member of the Judiciary Subcommittees on Immigration and Border Security and Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations.