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Submission For The Record of Hon. Bob Filner, and a Representative in Congress from the State of California, Chairman, Full Committee on Veterans' Affairs

Chairman Michaud, thank you for the opportunity to testify before the Subcommittee on Health on H.R. 5428, a bill of rights for injured and amputee veterans and H.R. 5543, a collective bargaining rights bill for VA clinicians.

We are all too familiar with the wide-spread use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn.  Many of our servicemembers are returning home with amputations as a direct result of blast injuries and this is why I have introduced H.R. 5428.

H.R. 5428 directs VA to display and educate VA employees about the injured and amputee veterans’ bill of rights at each VA prosthetics and orthotics clinic.  In addition, my bill requires VA to monitor and resolve complaints from injured and amputee veterans alleging mistreatment.   

I believe that this bill will go a long way in not only protecting the rights of our injured and amputee veterans, but will also play an important role in ensuring consistency in the quality of orthotic and prosthetic care that our veterans receive throughout the VA health care system. 

Next, I would like to discuss H.R. 5543, a bill which would allow collective bargaining over compensation related labor-management disputes.  Examples of such disputes include locality pay, overtime pay, shift differential pay, and performance pay. 

I would like to emphasize that my bill continues to protect the basic rates of pay so that VA employees cannot bargain over the federal pay scales.  However, I have heard stories where a VA nurse’s overtime pay is miscalculated but there is no recourse for addressing this inaccuracy. 

H.R. 5543 would also help VA with their recruitment and retention efforts since prospective employees would have the assurance that they will be treated fairly when it comes to the enforcement of pay laws and regulations.

Thank you again for the opportunity to share my thoughts with you, and I hope that I can count on your support for H.R. 5428 and H.R. 5543.