Congressman Kevin Cramer

Representing North Dakota, At Large

CRAMER: House Bills Address VA Accountability and Hiring Concerns

Mar 17, 2017
Press Release

Listen to Audio Statement on H.R. 1259 Here

Listen to Audio Statement on H.R. 1367 Here

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer supported two bills passed by the House of Representatives today addressing accountability and employment concerns at the Veterans Administration (VA).

H.R. 1259, the VA Accountability First Act of 2017, provides the VA Secretary increased flexibility to remove, demote, or suspend any employee, including senior executives, for performance or misconduct.  It improves protections for whistleblowers, and allows the Secretary to reduce federal pensions of VA employees convicted of felonies that influenced their jobs, or recoup bonuses or relocation expenses from employees for circumstances involving misconduct or fraud.

“The vast majority of VA employees are honest and hardworking, and it’s unfair for the good ones when the VA refuses to or cannot hold bad actors accountable,” said Cramer.  “This bill gives more powers to deal with the bad employees, and improves important whistleblower protections.”

H.R. 1367, the VA Hiring Bill, establishes staffing, recruitment and retention programs to enable the VA to recruit and retain the best employees in their field.  It establishes a recruiting database to make high-quality potential employees aware of positions at the VA, creates opportunities for career training and advancement for current VA employees through fellowship positions and a promotional track for technical experts.

“Our veterans deserve the highest quality medical care and the most efficient delivery of benefits possible,” said Cramer. “The VA must be able to efficiently recruit and retain highly qualified and motivated professionals at all levels.  This legislation improves the VA’s ability to recruit and retain high-quality professionals and more importantly corrects deficiencies within the VA’s overly bureaucratic and lengthy hiring process.”