Sep 14, 2016

Failing to Reform the VA Threatens Veterans’ Lives

Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke on the House floor today in favor of the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act, which makes it easier to fire VA employees who put veterans at risk.

Full remarks are below or watch online here.


“Thank you, Mr. Speaker. 

“I heard from veterans in my district years ago—long before I was the Majority Leader—that they weren’t getting their disability payments they deserved. They submitted their claims, but the VA was too backed up. The process was taking months, sometimes years. The appeals process quickly became a never-ending bureaucratic maze. Now, after a report from the GAO and countless legislative hearings and testimony, today we vote on reforms by Chairman Miller (FL-01) to ease the backlog that has only gotten worse. 

“Reforms to the VA are necessary. You can ask any vet who has had to wait or a whistleblower frustrated with the VA’s culture, the VA has a long laundry list of changes it must make. But there is a problem. Unless the VA holds those handful of employees accountable who turn a blind eye, show up to work intoxicated, or falsify wait times, the culture won’t change.  

“So, Mr. Speaker, I ask: What would you do if you found an employee drunk on the job? Or what if that employee was caught high on cocaine or found selling heroine in their free time? I think the words, ‘You’re fired,’ come to mind pretty quickly.  

“But for reasons I cannot even begin to understand, this logic is suspended for government employees. When you turn a blind eye to unacceptable behavior, that’s more than a management issue. Bad employees can make mistakes that threaten people’s very lives. 

You know the average today to dismiss somebody from the VA is more than a year. That is unacceptable. That is why Chairman Miller’s (FL-01) bill is in great need. We need to protect the VA for those who go to it—the veterans who need the service. That’s why I ask all when we bring the bill up to support.

“I yield back.”

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