On September 14th, 2016 the House passed H.R. 5620, the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016. The Act was passed by a bipartisan vote of 310-116. A few notes listed in the bill include:
- The removal of the Merit System Protection Board from firing/ demoting/appeals process for VA senior executives.
- Shortening the firing/demotion/appeals process for rank-and-file VA employees from more than a year on average to no more than 77 days.
- Provide VA whistleblowers with a means to solve problems at the lowest level possible, while offering them protection from reprisals and mandating strict accountability for those who reprise against them.
- Give the VA Secretary the authority to recoup bonuses and relocation expenses from misbehaving employees.
- Give the VA secretary the authority to reduce the pensions of senior executives convicted of felonies that influence their job performance. Reform the department’s broken disability benefits appeals process.
Currently the bill waits consideration by the Senate. For more information visit the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs website.