Lawmakers introduce bill to protect VA whistle-blowers

The Senate introduced a bill Thursday that would legally establish the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, according to The Hill.

The legislation, introduced by Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., would allow U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, MD, to more easily dismiss poorly performing employees at all levels within the department and protect whistle-blowers from potential acts of retaliation, according to the report. 

The bill would also shorten the employee removal process; ensure terminated individuals are removed from the department's payroll while appealing their termination; require the department to evaluate supervisors based on their protection of whistle-blowers; prohibit the designation of bonuses to employees found guilty of wrongdoing; prohibit the department from allocating relocation expenses to employees found guilty of abusing the system, according to the report.

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., co-sponsored the bill.

The bill is reportedly part of a series of legislation aimed at overhauling the VA department. President Donald Trump signed an executive order to create the office in April.

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