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Trump signs 'historic' bill to transform VA

24 June 2017

The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act hopes to solve issues at the VA through several means, one of which is giving the VA Secretary more freedom to fire employees, as well as the ability to dock bonuses and pensions of high-level officials.

"What happened was a national disgrace", Trump said, "and yet some of the employees involved in these scandals remained on the payrolls".

Trump promised as a candidate to fire VA employees "who let our veterans down".

"Those entrusted with the sacred duty of serving our veterans will be held accountable for the care they provide", Mr. Trump said. The VA is the second-largest department in the USA government, with more than 350,000 employees, and it is charged with providing health care and other services to military veterans. It will also increase protections for whistleblowers to help make certain that they are not retaliated against for speaking up about wrongdoings at the department.

Trump said the bill protects whistleblowers who "do the right thing". As I've said time and time again, the vast majority of VA employees - many I consider friends - are good, hard-working people.

The legislation, which many veterans' groups supported, cleared the House last week by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 368-55, replacing an earlier version that Democrats had criticized as overly unfair to employees.

Trump disputes Russian interference in 2016 election
Committee Vice Chair Mark Warner (D-VA) also decried the intelligence's reticence to give more information about the hacks. He said 33 states and 36 cities and counties used his department's tools to scan for potential vulnerabilities.

"Although marketed as a bill to make it easier to fire bad employees, the proposals are created to kill off and bury the apolitical Civil Service", AFGE President David Cox, Sr. said at a May 17 Senate hearing.

The bill was a rare Trump initiative that received Democratic support.

The Veterans Affairs bill was backed by Shulkin, who had called the department's employee accountability process "clearly broken".

Most Americans in the workplace understand if they do not live up to the standards set by their employer, there may be consequences. These bad employees are failing in their duty to serve our nation's veterans, many without disciplinary action, and something needs to be done.

President Donald Trump (2nd L), first lady Melania Trump (L), and Vice President Mike Pence (R) applaud during a Congressional Picnic on the South Lawn of the White House Thursday in Washington, DC.

Trump signs 'historic' bill to transform VA