Jul 28 2014
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement regarding the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reform agreement reached today.
Although he is not a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Rubio was asked to be part of the House-Senate conference committee organized to reconcile different versions of VA reform legislation due to his leadership in sponsoring the VA Management Accountability Act of 2014, which passed the House in May and was included in the Senate-passed VA reform legislation in June.
“This VA reform agreement is an important step forward to begin addressing the dysfunction and incompetence that are plaguing our VA system and hurting our veterans. By providing our veterans with more doctor choices outside the VA system, this takes significant steps to make sure that those who have served our country aren’t condemned to endless waiting times just to get an appointment.
“I have fought to reform the VA, and a key part of this fight has been to hold bad managers accountable. After the scandal erupted earlier this year, my biggest priority was to make sure that my legislation making it easier to fire incompetent, negligent or dishonest managers was included in any reform. During the conference committee, I’m proud that this provision became even stronger than what the Senate passed earlier this year. It’s time to end the shameful VA status quo that has made it easier for bad workers to receive bonuses than get fired.
“Despite the dysfunction it exhibited at times, it’s been my honor to serve on this conference committee. I also want to take this opportunity to commend Congressman Jeff Miller, the lead Republican negotiator on this committee. I’ve known Jeff for many years and had the privilege of working with him in the Florida House. I’ve always known that Jeff Miller is the real deal when it comes to public service, and this experience further solidified that impression. Florida’s Panhandle, our entire state and all our veterans are fortunate to have Jeff Miller championing their causes.”