U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) office will host in-person and virtual Mobile Office Hours next week to assist constituents with federal casework issues in their respective local communities. These office hours offer constituents who do not live close to one of...
El senador estadounidense Marco Rubio (R-FL) habló con Nio Encendio de Maxima 92.5 de Tampa Bay, sobre cómo la inflación ha impactado a las familias, sobre las olas de migración ilegal, sobre el juicio político de Biden vs. el de Trump, sobre el canje de prisioneros...
This year alone, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has encountered an estimated 40,000 Chinese nationals along the U.S. northern and southern border. The Biden Administration has left the border wide open, allowing potential spies from the Chinese Communist...
Gotion, Inc., a Chinese company and U.S. subsidiary of Guoxuan High-Tech, announced a lithium battery plant in Illinois that is expected to open next year. This CCP-tied battery company is expected to benefit from green-energy tax breaks under the Democrats’ Inflation...
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined National Public Radio’s All Things Considered to discuss his plan to expand the child tax credit for working families. See below for the full transcript and listen to the edited interview here. On the connection between the child...
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Wake Up America to discuss the U.S. House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry and the hypocritical reaction by Democrats. See below for highlights and watch the full interview on YouTube and Rumble. On the U.S. House of...
Rubio Blasts Biden Admin For Disregarding His VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act
Our nation’s veterans deserve exceptional care and service when they seek assistance from the VA. In 2017, the bipartisan VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act was enacted to hold the VA accountable to ensure its employees continue to provide our veterans with the best experience.
U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Steve Daines (R-MT) sent a letter bashing U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough for announcing the VA will ignore important provisions of the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act that require the agency to hold bad employees accountable.
“As we conduct oversight, it is our job to ensure veterans receive the best experience possible at the VA, and we expect that the VA will put veterans first during all decisions about employee management.” – Senator Marco Rubio
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Secretary McDonough:
We write with concern that, starting April 3, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will begin to disregard current law under the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 (P.L. 115-41). This bipartisan law protects whistleblowers at the VA and provides the Secretary with the authority to hold bad VA employees accountable by allowing the dismissal of employees for poor performance or misconduct. Our nation’s veterans deserve only the best and most qualified employees serving them when they seek assistance from the VA. We are concerned that the VA is making excuses for employees’ poor performance and putting bureaucratic interests ahead of veterans’ well-being.
As we have said countless times, more often than not, VA facilities are staffed by exceptional employees, who have nobly chosen to pursue a career dedicated to our nation’s heroes. Many VA employees are veterans themselves, which speaks to the selfless testament of their service to our nation. The VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act stemmed from concerns that we had heard that the VA did not have the authority to hold the small portion of bad employees accountable for their actions. These employees have criminal records, stole medication from VA facilities, or have done other egregious actions that suggest they are unfit to work for the VA, and to serve our veterans, their caregivers, and families. Yet, the VA was stuck in lengthy disciplinary actions that are costly to the taxpayer, and there was need for reform leading to this landmark law.
During consideration of the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, then- Secretary David Shulkin stated that the VA lacked the authorities needed to punish bad employees, and the VA needed a “new set of tools” to do right by veterans. He stated that new authorities are “necessary” in order to serve our country’s veterans. This law was not some partisan play to punish the VA, its employees, or veterans. It’s the exact opposite. This law was crafted with support of several veterans’ service organizations, from feedback and work with the VA and passed both chambers overwhelmingly. The law cuts the bureaucratic red tape to ensure that the VA does the right thing, holds its employees to the highest standards and removes those who do not put the needs and wellbeing of veterans at the center of their work.
What is most concerning about the VA’s move is that recent reporting suggests that the VA will rely on authorities in place prior to enactment of VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. The bipartisan consensus in 2017, and the VA’s own view of the issue, was that the VA did not have authorities needed to ensure that bad employees could be held accountable for their actions. As we conduct oversight, it is our job to ensure veterans receive the best experience possible at the VA, and we expect that the VA will put veterans first during all decisions about employee management.
To that end, we request the following information:
1. What authorities does the VA believe is sufficient for ensuring that bad employees can swiftly be removed from their position if they are deemed to not be acting in the best interest of veterans in their role?
2. What factors led to VA’s decision to no longer abide by the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act?
3. Will previously terminated employees be allowed to return to working at the VA? If so, how did the VA deem that they are suited to return to their role?
4. As the VA has promised to hold employees accountable, what authorities will the VA need following the April 3 cessation in order to do this?
Thank you for your attention to this matter. We look forward to your prompt response.