Thompson Votes to Make VA More Accountable

House passes the VA Accountability & Whistleblower Protection Act

WASHINGTONU.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson today voted in favor of increasing the accountability of Department of Veterans Affairs employees and protecting those who sound the alarm on agency problems.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 (S. 1094), ensures that VA employees are held to the highest performance standards and that they are accountable when those standards are not met. It places equal emphasis on protecting those employees who want to openly discuss concerns without fear of retribution.    

While the vast majority of VA employees are hardworking and dedicated, there have been instances where the VA has tried to take disciplinary action against an employee and the process is so administratively complex and lengthy that such action can take more than a year, often times being delayed indefinitely.

When bad actors are not held accountable, the reputation of the department as a whole can be tainted.

“Our veterans deserve quality care and the benefits they have rightfully earned in the defense of our country,” Rep. Thompson said. “Today’s vote will ensure that individuals delivering services at the VA are held to the highest standards. The majority of those working on behalf of our veterans do not deserve to be lumped in with the actions of a few bad actors. Empowering the workforce with additional whistleblower protections will ensure the highest standards can be upheld and the hard working men and women who serve our nation’s veterans can continue to restore the agency’s reputation.”

ABOUT THE BILL

It creates a new streamlined and efficient process to remove, demote or suspend any VA employee for poor performance or misconduct with a concrete shortened timeline.

It continues to protect employees’ due process rights, and affords them the right to appeal the action.

It would also provide expanded protections for whistleblowers and would specifically bar VA from using this removal authority if the employee has an open whistleblower complaint/case with the Office of Special Counsel.