Well over a year after America discovered the horrifying scandal in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), our veterans aren’t much better off and are in some instances worse. Despite Congress passing a historic bill to bring choice to veterans and accountability to the VA, the VA has slow walked reform and many of the same problems as last year persist today.
- A report from earlier this year revealed that there are now 50 percent more veterans on wait lists for a month or more than there was during the height of the scandal last year.
- A new report claims that nearly one-third of veterans waiting for healthcare at the VA are already dead. Though a spokeswoman for the VA contests those claims, the fact that any veterans are still dying while waiting for care is deeply troubling.
- Though VA Secretary Robert McDonald once claimed that 60 VA employees who manipulated wait times were fired, internal documents from the department revealed the number was closer to three, and findings from the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs found that in fact only two have been successfully fired for manipulating wait times.
Since news of the scandal broke, the House has continued to pass multiple reforms and conduct vigorous oversight. The House Committee on Veterans Affairs has continued our progress with their work on the VA Accountability Act (H.R. 1994), which will streamline the process for removing or demoting VA employees for poor performance or misconduct and enhance whistleblower protections. There is no excuse for not caring for our veterans, and this bill will put what is good for the veteran above everything else.
Leader McCarthy made the following announcement regarding the House’s latest VA reform bill:
“When it comes to the VA, care for the veteran should come first. For years this Administration has failed to hold executive agencies accountable, and in the VA that has had dire consequences. The House Committee on Veterans Affairs has been doing good work, and this bill is another step toward providing the care that our veterans deserve. To continue this progress, the House will vote on the VA Accountability Act in the last week of July.”