June 06, 2017

Rep. Takano Statement on Senate Passage of VA Accountability Legislation

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Vice Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, released the following statement after the Senate passed S.1094, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act.

“Throughout the debate over accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs I have advocated for legislation that holds VA employees accountable without violating their constitutional right to due process. The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act strikes that balance far better than previous accountability proposals advanced by the House. Despite my concerns with certain provisions, I would support the bill if it comes to the House floor in its current form. 

“While it is far from perfect, the bill passed by the Senate today does not contain the serious and numerous constitutional issues raised by previous accountability bills. Namely, this compromise bill does not dismantle collective bargaining agreements or make unworkable changes to the appeals process, and it maintains key due process protections. The changes it does make will strengthen whistleblower protections and fix defects in the current law that make accountability provisions unenforceable in the courts.

“Ultimately, the VA’s success will not be defined by who is fired, but by who is hired. Passing this legislation will allow us to focus on filling the more than 40,000 vacant jobs at the VA with talented and dedicated employees. I look forward to working with my colleagues to improve the recruitment and hiring process to ensure the VA has the staff and expertise it needs to provide veterans the care and support they have earned.”  

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