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Banks Calls for Increased VA Accountability

March 16, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Jim Banks (IN-03) today voted in support of H.R. 1259, the VA Accountability First Act of 2017. He spoke in favor of the bill on the House floor earlier today.

 

Click here or on the image below to view Congressman Banks’ speech.

 

The text of the speech follows:

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I want to commend you for the leadership you have shown on this issue and so many others as Chairman of the committee.

 

As a veteran of the War in Afghanistan, I have a deep commitment to ensuring that my fellow veterans receive the proper care and treatment that they have earned by serving our country.

 

That is why I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the VA Accountability First Act.

 

This bipartisan legislation will give Secretary Shulkin the tools he needs to change the dysfunctional culture of the VA.

 

It’s been three years since the wait list scandal at VA facilities became public, and yet too many of our veterans deal with VA employees who engage in misconduct that can endanger their lives.

 

Too often, it takes months- or even years- to remove these employees.

 

Worse still, sometimes these employees are not removed at all.

 

Most VA employees are hardworking and dedicated- which makes it that much more unfair when the VA can’t or won’t hold bad employees accountable.

 

We can and must do better, and this bill is the first step in that process.

 

The bill would shorten the time it takes to fire a VA employee for misconduct, give the Secretary the discretion to both revoke bonuses previously paid to employees engaging in misconduct and reduce pensions of employees found guilty of felonies while on the job, and provide improved protections for whistle-blowers.

 

These are common sense proposals, which is why this bill has the support of the American Legion, the VFW and Paralyzed Veterans of America.

 

This bill is also supported by Secretary Shulkin- who I would note was unanimously confirmed in the Senate.

 

This is a no-brainer, and there is no excuse not to pass this critical bill and ensure that our veterans are receiving the best care possible from qualified and competent VA professionals.

 

With that, I yield back.

 

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Interested members of the media may contact Anna Swick at anna.swick@mail.house.gov