Congressman Lamar Smith

Representing the 21st District of Texas
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Smith Statement on President Signing VA Accountability Bill into Law

Jun 23, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith gave the following statement today following President Trump signing the bipartisan Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 (S. 1094) into law.

Rep. Smith: “President Trump is honoring his promise to hold accountable VA employees 'who let our veterans down.' The legislation signed today allows the VA Secretary more flexibility to remove, demote or suspend employees who are engaged in unprofessional behavior and not providing the quality of service our veterans deserve. It’s unfair to veterans and the vast majority of dedicated staff at Texas VA facilities when the agency doesn’t hold employees accountable.”

Background:
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ arcane civil service rules have allowed for months of paid leave for an employee who was involved in an armed robbery, a nurse who took part in surgery while intoxicated and a manager responsible for hospital construction delays costing over $1 billion. The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 creates a more efficient and streamlined removal process for poor performing employees while still protecting due process rights and the right to appeal.