This week, the House of Representatives passed three bills that bring real reforms to the way our country treats our veterans. The improvements we’re making to the system are common sense: the VA should be able to fire bad employees. If we want to give our veterans the best possible care, then the VA has to be hiring the best possible medical professionals. No veteran should be denied – without due process -- the rights they fought to defend. It’s as simple as that.
As Chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Health subcommittee, one of my top priorities is providing veterans with the care they have earned and deserved. Here’s a quick breakdown of the bills we passed:
What we passed: VA Accountability First Act of 2017 (H.R. 1259)
- What it does: Gives the VA Secretary more flexibility to remove, demote, or suspend any VA employee for poor performance.
- Why it matters: Just last year, former VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson testified at a hearing that it was too hard to fire bad employees at VA. Our veterans deserve the best, and the VA should be able to hold employees accountable if they are not providing veterans with proper care. Learn more.
What we passed: Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act (H.R. 1181)
- What it does: Currently, federal law allows the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to designate veterans who are unable to manage their finances as “mentally defective,” which automatically puts them on the FBI’s criminal background-check list, denying them of their 2nd Amendment rights. This bill, which I joined Reps. Roe and Conaway in introducing, would prohibit the VA from sending the name of an individual to the FBI's criminal background-check list, unless a judge or magistrate determines that the veteran is a danger to himself or others.
- Why it matters: It's wrong for veterans who utilize a fiduciary to lose their 2nd Amendment rights without due process. We need to keep appropriate safeguards, and ensure guns don't fall into the wrong hands. But we cannot allow veterans to be wrongly denied the rights they fought to defend. Learn more.
What we passed: A bill I introduced on VA hiring (H.R. 1367)
- What it does: Streamlines and updates VA hiring processes.
- Why it matters: I introduced this bill because current bureaucratic, inefficient hiring practices at VA hospitals make recruiting and retaining highly-qualified candidates a challenge. In order to provide our veterans with the best quality medical care, the VA must be recruiting and retaining the best medical professionals. Learn more.
I'll keep you posted as I continue to work to ensure those who served receive the care, benefits, and opportunities they deserve and have earned.
In Your Service,
P.S. I met with VA Secretary David Shulkin this week to hear his priorities for the Department of Veterans Affairs. The House Veterans' Affairs Health Subcommittee and the administration are continuing to work together toward a common goals: fighting for those who fought for us.