Apr 27 2017
Washington, D.C. – During today’s Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on preventing veteran suicide, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Deputy Under Secretary Dr. Carolyn Clancy told U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) that the department welcomes Rubio’s legislation that would ensure greater accountability for VA employees.
Clancy’s comments follow VA Secretary David Shulkin’s statement of support on March 31, when he said, “we need accountability legislation as soon as possible.”
Rubio’s VA Accountability First Act would provide the VA secretary increased flexibility to remove, demote or suspend any VA employee for poor performance or misconduct, including Senior Executive Service employees. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives last month and currently awaits consideration in the Senate.
Video of today’s key exchange can be watched here. A transcript is below.
RUBIO: We have worked and continue to work on accountability legislation the secretary supports to give him the authority to remove people.
RUBIO: Not in an unfair way. We’re not interested in witch hunts. We’re not interested-- we need good people. I don’t think there’s any interest in removing good people.
RUBIO: For political purposes or otherwise. But, we remain concerned and I think the secretary shares this view in his public statements that the VA at this time does not have the authority to remove people in an expeditious manner if they find the need to do so. And so I look forward to hopefully working with you and others to get that done. Mr. chairman, thank you.
CLANCY: Well if I might just note senator just that this week we’ve had senior leaders across our system all together out at a meeting and the secretary was very, very, very clear about this, and actually was doing problem solving with individuals to say, ‘you know, how can we help you?’ Because oftentimes our leaders want to act more expeditiously and it’s tricky. And he walked us through what the legislation is and that he welcomes it.