WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) joined his colleagues to pass a pair of bills this week aimed at providing increased accountability within the Department of Veterans Affairs and aid hiring practices at the agency. One bill, H.R. 1259, the VA Accountability First Act, provides increased flexibility to the Secretary of the VA to remove, demote, or suspend employees for performance or misconduct. The bill also allows the department to recoup bonuses from poorly performing employees. That bill passed Thursday evening by a vote of 237-178.
Latta also voted in favor of H.R. 1367 on Friday morning. That bill provides authority to the VA Secretary to help hire and retain quality physicians and other VA employees. The bill establishes staffing, recruitment, and retention programs for the VA to attract the best available in the medical field to improve care for patients. A 2016 survey that ranks the best places to work in the federal government found that the VA was ranked second to last for large agencies overall.
“In order to improve care for our nation’s veterans, the VA has to be a place where top doctors and staff want to work and are committed to staying,” said Latta. “We should be doing all we can to empower the VA Secretary to recruit the best and the brightest employees. At the same time, it’s important that the agency also have the flexibility to let go of underperforming staff and those committing misconduct. Ultimately, these bills are about providing better care for the men and women that have served our country.”