Both the Veterans Affairs and Justice departments believe they can easily resolve some concerns with the constitutionality of the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection. DoJ is concerned, however, that VA will run into the same issues that ultimately rendered a controversial provision on firing senior executives unconstitutional.
The Senate is tied up with the 2018 budget and probing whether Russia influenced the 2016 election. But members still remain interested in the Veterans Affairs Department. The committee is marking up the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. If enacted, this bill could help the department attract the talent management says it needs. Kristine Simmons, vice president of government affairs at the Partnership for Public Service, joins Federal Drive with Tom Temin with more.
The House will pass the VA Accountability First and Whistleblower Protection Act, clearing the way for the President to sign the bill later this week. Some lawmakers and veterans service organizations see the bill’s passage as a major win after years of debate over new accountability legislation. But federal employee groups say the bill would do more harm than good.
It’s been a busy couple of months for the Veterans Affairs Department. But VA Secretary David Shulkin said he wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s pushing the VA workforce to embrace risk and begin making bold, fundamental changes to the way it does business. He said he sees the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act as one bold change that will improve the department’s employee morale and recruitment efforts.
Restoring veterans’ trust and mending gaps between the department’s headquarters and its employees in the field are top priorities for Tom Bowman, the president’s nominee to be the deputy VA secretary.
The Veterans Affairs Department’s push to more easily fire employees charged with misconduct has found its latest target — the former director of the Washington, D.C. VA medical center.
The Veterans Affairs Department fires its D.C. medical center director, Brian Hawkins. This is the second time the department has attempted to fire Hawkins for “ineffective leadership.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a decision from the Merit Systems Protection Board, which said the Veterans Affairs Department could put one of its indicted employees could be put on indefinite suspension.
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin gave a progress report on a wide range of initiatives. He told the Senate VA Committee that the department is still making “incremental change” on hiring, appeals modernization, accountability and a new electronic health record.
President Donald Trump wants the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, which he signed into law last summer, to serve as a model for other agencies.