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House Votes to Strengthen G.I. Bill, Ban Bonuses for VA Senior Execs

Feb 3, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 357, as amended, the G.I. Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013, a bipartisan bill introduced by Chairman Miller and cosponsored by Ranking Member Mike Michaud. The bill would enable G.I. Bill recipients to receive in-state tuition rates at any public college or university in the country, not just those in a veteran’s state of residence. The bill also contains a number of other provisions designed to enhance veterans benefits and bring more accountability and efficiency to the Department of Veterans Affairs, including:

  • A five year ban on performance bonuses for VA Senior Executive Service employees
  • An extension of Veterans Retraining and Assistance Program job training benefits through May 31, 2014. The program is currently set to expire March 31, 2014
  • Stronger infectious disease reporting requirements for VA hospitals
  • A requirement for VA health officials to obtain the consent of patients before electronically monitoring them in private patient areas
  • More comprehensive reporting requirements for VA employees traveling abroad 

Following House passage of H.R. 357, Chairman Miller issued the following statement:

“The men and women who served this nation did not just defend the citizens of their home states, but the citizens of all 50 states. This bill will ensure our veterans’ educational benefits reflect that important principle. And because H.R. 357 saves the government money, it’s a win for taxpayers as well as veterans.

“House passage of this bill is also a big step forward for all who are fighting to instill some much-needed accountability at VA. In response to a rash of media reports documenting how numerous VA senior executives have received sizeable ‘performance’ bonuses despite presiding over significant increases in benefits claim backlogs and even preventable veteran deaths, we’ve been asking VA for months to conduct a top-to-bottom review of its performance appraisal system. So far, VA leaders have refused, and until we have complete confidence that VA is holding executives accountable – rather than rewarding them – for mistakes, no one should get a performance bonus. Period. This bill will ensure that is the case.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

Read the text of the bill here.

View Chairman Miller’s floor remarks here.