Trump signs Veterans Affairs reform bill

Posted June 24, 2017

"The bill also establishes the Office of Accountability, which forbids the VA Secretary from retaliating against whistleblowers who have filed complaints within the VA general counsel's office".

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

"Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor", Lee said in a joint statement with Sens.

The Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act is created to bring accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs by expediting the firing process for poorly performing employees, and ensuring appropriate protections for whistleblowers.

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The measure passed the House by a 368-55 vote earlier this month.

Unions representing some VA workers, including the American Federation of Government Employees, are concerned the measure could be abused for political reasons.

The bill was a rare Trump initiative that received Democratic support. The Senate bill calls for a longer appeal process than the House version - 180 days versus 45 days.

In addition to making it easier to get rid of under performing employees, the bill also establishes protections for Whistle Blowers from retaliation. VA executives would be held to a tougher standard than rank-and-file employees.

"As you all know - all too well - for many years, the government failed to keep its promises to our veterans", Mr. Trump said, saying "we are just getting started" on major changes to the VA, one of his central campaign promises in 2016. These bad employees are failing in their duty to serve our nation's veterans, many without disciplinary action, and something needs to be done.

Trump signed the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, the most significant reform bill in the history of the department.

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.