VA accountability bill heads to Trump: 4 things to know

A bill that aims to increase accountability for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs employees gained final approval in the House Tuesday, according to a Los Angeles Times report.

Here are four things to know.

1. The House gave final approval to the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 in a 368-55 vote. The Senate passed the bill June 6. It now heads to President Donald Trump, who is expected to give the bill his signature, according to the report.

2. The bill "lowers the current standard of evidence needed to remove workers for misconduct" and would expedite the process to fire and discipline VA employees for cause, reports the LA Times. The report states it also includes more protections for whistleblowers and gives additional authority to VA Secretary David Shulkin, MD, who could "reduce an employee's federal pension if they are involved in a felony affecting their position, or recoup a fired employee's bonus and relocation expenses."

3. The bill has drawn mixed reactions. Dan Caldwell, director of policy for advocacy group Concerned Veterans for America, showed support for the bill, saying it is "key reform that needs to be implemented before you can start addressing ... anything at all, because if you don't have accountability then any type of future reforms will be undermined," according to the report. However, the report states, unions with VA employees as members contend people could use the legislation for political purposes and that it will not fully address issues that have plagued the VA.

4. The bill follows various problems at the VA, such as long wait times for veterans seeking healthcare services.

 

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