Though President Obama was allegedly “mad as hell” when he heard about the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) scandal in the news, he recently threatened to veto the House’s latest bill to hold the VA accountable.
The House’s VA Accountability Act streamlines the process to remove employees with bad performance or who have failed in their duty to take care of veterans by, for example, manipulating wait times. In order to care for our veterans, we need a faster process to remove bad employees, especially considering only three employees have been successfully fired for wait time manipulation despite the fact that 110 hospitals in the VA maintained secret wait lists.
Obviously, to get our veterans the care they need, we need to get rid of the bad apples who are more interested in getting a promotion than saving lives.
Last year, it seemed that President Obama agreed we needed increased accountability. He said,
“Any misconduct—whether it’s allegations of VA staff covering up long wait times or cooking the books—I will not stand for it. Once we know the facts, I assure you if there is misconduct, it will be punished.”
Punished how? With full-paid leave while their cases are being investigated? With this veto threat of a bipartisan VA accountability bill, President Obama is making it clear that he might talk a big game, but he’s not committed to reforming the VA. Even the White House’s own Rob Nabors, the VA chief of staff, said in his report analyzing the problems of the VA,
“There is a tendency to transfer problems rather than solve problems. This is in part due to the difficulty of hiring and firing in the Federal Government.”
The House is trying to fix this problem, but it seems President Obama cares more about protecting jobs for those who failed our veterans instead of making sure our veterans get the care they deserve.