RENEWED PUSH FOR VA REFORM LEGISLATION IN SENATE - June 22, 2016
Senator Pushes For Action on VA Accountability Reforms
By Kellie Lunney, Government Executive
The head of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee is pushing for a floor vote on major legislation that would limit the rights of senior executives at the Veterans Affairs Department to appeal their removal.
Less than a week after the department announced that it would no longer use the expedited authority in a 2014 law to fire senior executives because of constitutional concerns, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., urged his colleagues to support the Veterans First Act, and help bring it to the floor for an immediate up-or-down vote. The legislation, crafted by Isakson and the panel’s ranking member Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., would take away the rights of VA senior executives to appeal major disciplinary actions, including firing, to the independent Merit Systems Protection Board. Instead, under the bill, affected senior executives would have the opportunity to appeal adverse actions to an internal department review board, giving the VA secretary more authority over removals, suspensions and demotions.