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Ranking Member Walz Introduces Provision To Improve, Expedite Accountability Legislation

Mar 16, 2017
Press Release
Walz Amendment Would Ensure Bad Managers at the VA are Held Accountable, Would Protect Frontline Caregivers

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- Today, House Committee on Veterans Affairs Ranking Member Tim Walz (MN-1) offered an amendment to H.R. 1259, the VA Accountability First Act, in order to protect frontline VA caregivers and whistleblowers while holding bad managers accountable.  

“There is not a single member of Congress who doesn’t believe in strengthening accountability at the VA; doing so is a critical step in ensuring veterans always come first and receive the highest quality of care available,” Rep. Walz said. “While we should always seek new ways to improve veteran-centered care, we also have an obligation to protect great employees who dutifully serve and protect veterans, many whom are veterans themselves, on a daily basis as well as the whistleblowers who help lawmakers identify key problems.”

“By stripping away fundamental workplace protections and making it harder for whistleblowers to come forward, the Republican proposal empowers bad managers while making it less likely whistleblowers will report problems because they fear retribution.”

“During the last Congress, Democrats offered a viable alternative that House Republicans supported and that Republicans in the Senate support now. It is disappointing that some Republicans would rather play partisan politics rather than pass legislation that has broad bipartisan agreement to increase accountability. By refusing to compromise on the 1% of this legislation we disagree on, Republicans have made it harder to pass the 99% of the legislation that is vital to making improvements.”

The Walz Amendment would replace sections 3 and 9 of the underlying bill with bipartisan legislation from the Veterans First Act introduced by Senator Isakson last Congress. The language has support from both sides of the aisle and wide support from the Veteran Service Organizations. The amendment specifically targets senior executives and provides an expedited process for the VA Secretary to hold senior executives and VA employees accountable.

For text of the amendment, please click here.