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Chairman Bost Announces Oversight Hearing on VA’s PACT Act Bonus Mess

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mike Bost (R-Ill.), announced that on Tuesday, June 4, 2024 at 10:15 AM ET, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will hold a full Committee oversight hearing entitled, “Bonus Blunder: Examining VA’s Improper Decision to Award Senior Executives Millions in Incentives,” in response to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) report, entitled “VA Improperly Awarded $10.8 Million in Incentives to Central Office Senior Executives.”


The Committee will examine how the Biden administration’s Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA) officials made the calculated decision to pay almost every one of their almost 200 VA central office senior executives an average of $60,000 in critical skill incentive bonus payments. These bonuses, as authorized by Congress, were intended for high-demand healthcare and benefits support staff who are vital to VA’s operations following implementation of the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022 (P.L. 117-168).


Last week, Chairman Bost requested that the following individuals testify on June 4th on behalf of the Department–

·     The Honorable Dr. Shereef Elnahal, Under Secretary for Health

·     The Honorable Joshua Jacobs, Under Secretary for Benefits

·     Cassandra Law, Assistant Secretary for Human Resources/Operations, Security and Preparedness

·     And a representative from VA’s Office of General Counsel with knowledge of VA’s CSI payments to senior executives to testify on behalf of the Department.


As Chairman Bost previously stated, “During oversight visits across the country, we have consistently heard from VA police officers, medical supply technicians, housekeepers, and other VA staff about the need for VA to better retain quality employees. Instead of using all of the critical skill incentives to do this, VA inappropriately used the money to line the pockets of VA executives to the detriment of VA’s workforce and the veterans they serve. It appears like this was a calculated effort by senior VA leadership including, Undersecretary for Health Dr. Elnahal, and Undersecretary for Benefits Jacobs. The over $10 million dollars in overpayments to VA central office employees were not some type of administrative mistake – that’s a serious problem for the second largest agency in the federal government – and we’re going to get to the bottom of it come hell or high water.”


In September 2023, Chairman Bost and Ranking Member Takano, alongside Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Tester and Ranking Member Moran, sent a joint letter to Secretary McDonough on this issue which can be found here.



In 2022, as part of the expansion of care and benefits for veterans and their families under P.L. 117-168, the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act of 2022 (PACT Act), Congress included provisions to build VA’s workforce capacity in response to an expected increase in demand for services. Congress worked with VA to craft Title IX of the PACT Act to address hiring shortages across the enterprise. One such authority in Section 909 allowed VA to provide CSI to employees with “a high-demand skill or skill that is at a shortage” and whose employment serves a critical need. The intended purpose of this authority was to hire positions such as human resources specialists who can aid in hiring for other positions, information technology (IT) professionals to help improve and support VA’s IT systems, and police officers and housekeepers who have faced hiring shortages for years and are essential to the day-to-day operation of VA facilities.

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