Congressman Lamar Smith

Representing the 21st District of Texas
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Smith Votes to Create a Culture of Accountability at the VA

Jun 13, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Congressman Lamar Smith voted today to support The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 (S. 1094).

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.

Rep. Smith: “This legislation 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 employees at Texas VA facilities when the agency doesn’t hold employees accountable.”

In March, the House passed H.R. 1259, the VA Accountability First Act of 2017. The Senate passed S. 1094, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 on June 6, 2017. Because the Senate accountability bill passed today in the House, it will now go to the President Trump to be signed into law.