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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today joined House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Representative Jeff Miller (R-FL) and representatives of several veterans’ service organizations at a press event to call on Congress to pass legislation sponsored by Rubio in the Senate and Miller in the House that would bring greater accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for meeting the needs of America’s veterans, including its disability claims backlog.

“As Congressman Miller outlined a moment ago, the vast majority of the casework we're now getting in our offices in Florida —  a significant majority of the casework we’re now getting — is related to Veterans Affairs and to the inability of this department to effectively and accountably deliver the services that these men and women have earned through their service to our country,” said Rubio. “What this bill does is pretty straightforward. It allows the secretary of the department to be able to fire and hold accountable senior executive officials within the department, when in fact there's breakdown in accountability. It’s the exact same thing that exists in the private sector. It exists in our congressional offices, but it does not exist in a government agency of this importance.

“Let me reiterate what's already been said: The enormous and vast majority of the 300,000 men and women who work in this agency, work hard and do a great job. But like any organization, there's going to be breakdowns. And when there are, people need to be held accountable, especially at the senior management level,” added Rubio. “And so I hope that the House acts on this measure, that in the Senate, my colleagues across the aisle will see the importance of it and act quickly as well.”

View Rubio’s full remarks here.

A transcript of the remarks is available below:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and Congressman Miller and everyone for joining us and being a part of this effort. You know, I think all Americans deserve and expect a government that's both accountable and effective. But I know of no Americans that deserve that more than the men and women who sacrifice and risk their lives in the service of their country. 

These are men and women who sometimes are away from their families for months or years at a time, who face mortal danger in the defense of our liberties and or freedoms — and the liberty and freedoms of others. Who undergo tremendous sacrifices, their families do, when they’re away. And when they return home, we’ve promised them a set of services that we provide the men and women who have served us. 

And this is the agency, the veterans administration, that's responsible for delivering those services. And as Congressman Miller outlined a moment ago, the vast majority of the casework we're now getting in our offices in Florida —  a significant majority of the casework we’re now getting — is related to Veterans Affairs and to the inability of this department to effectively and accountably deliver the services that these men and women have earned through their service to our country. 

What this bill does is pretty straightforward. It allows the secretary of the department to be able to fire and hold accountable senior executive officials within the department, when in fact there's breakdown in accountability. It’s the exact same thing that exists in the private sector. It exists in our congressional offices, but it does not exist in a government agency of this importance. 

Let me reiterate what's already been said: The enormous and vast majority of the 300,000 men and women who work in this agency, work hard and do a great job. But like any organization, there's going to be breakdowns. And when there are, people need to be held accountable, especially at the senior management level. And the people we entrust with running this agency should have the power to fire and discipline those who have let down the men and women who have served us in uniform. And so I hope that the House acts on this measure, that in the Senate, my colleagues across the aisle will see the importance of it and act quickly as well.