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Boehner, others tout Legion-backed VA accountability bill

Boehner, others tout Legion-backed VA accountability bill
(Photo by Marty Callaghan)

Speaker of the House John Boehner and other members of Congress publicly endorsed American Legion-backed legislation that would, if enacted, make removal of under-performing or miscreant VA executives easier and more certain. American Legion Legislative Director Louis Celli was among the speakers at today’s press conference in Washington, D.C., joining House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller, Sen. Marco Rubio, Rep. Jackie Walorski and Pete Hegseth, CEO of Concerned Veterans of America.

The legislation is in the form of two bills, one in the U.S. House and one in the Senate, both called the “Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014.” In brief, the Act, “authorizes the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to remove any [VA] employee from a Senior Executive Service (SES) position upon determining that such individual’s performance warrants removal.” It also allows the VA secretary to fire that person from the civil service or demote him or her as the Secretary sees fit.

The proposed legislation help answer what critics believe has been a gross lack of accountability within VA executive ranks in the wake of allegedly preventable veteran deaths in VA medical facilities as well as hospital construction delays and budget overruns. The House version of the Act was introduced by Miller on Feb. 11; Rubio submitted his identically worded measure to the Senate the same day. In his press conference remarks, Miller repeatedly made the point that, in his estimation, "it is easier for [a badly performing VA executive] to get a bonus than it is to get fired." Miller said he did not, however, favor the dismissal of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

“In 1918, when World War I ended, there was no national veteran’s hospital system,” Celli said at the press conference. “Compensation authorized for disabled veterans, widows and orphans was inadequate and delayed. The administration of veterans programs was in the hands of too many agencies and was neglected. This is why The American Legion worked closely with Congress over the next 10 years to help establish what we know today as The Department of Veterans Affairs.“The American Legion is a partner with the VA and has a vested interest in making sure it operates effectively and efficiently, which is why we support …The Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014.

“On behalf of Commander (Daniel M.) Dellinger and the 2.5 million members of The American Legion, we would like to thank the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Chairman Miller, and Speaker Boehner for their leadership and support as we work toward making sure The Department of Veterans Affairs is well supported, well managed, and well funded so that it can carry out the mission of caring for those who have borne the battle.”

 

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Red 8

April 5, 2014 - 9:34pm

I would not allow Boehner near my children or on my Property. He represents everything wrong with our country. I think of all my our brothers and sisters who sacrificed there lives for likes of him. It makes me ill.

Dearborn, MSgt ( ret)

April 4, 2014 - 8:10pm

Think about how insurance companies force us out of the hospitals the day after surgery to save dollars. Those health cards are a great idea on face value BUT in the end I fear it would allow the VA to become a health insurance and that is the last thing we need is another OBAMA. CARE's not. In addition the back log is VBA ( benefits) and the cards is VHA ornhealth care

Alan Blake

April 4, 2014 - 9:52am

I said several weeks ago, the numb nuts are in charge and running the Government. We deserve better but looking at those running things I do not expect much.

James Morton

April 3, 2014 - 6:10pm

Why is it that we veterans must go only to VA facilities for healthcare unless we want to pay out of pocket for the treatment? Wouldn't we nearly elmiminate the backlog and save billions of dollars in the process? Think of being able to go to your home town doctor or healthcare facility and use your VA card and have them swipe it just like a debit card. Pay any deductable and you are done. The care facility is paid instantly or nearly so thus eliminating all the paperwork and time delay currently in place. Also the hassel of needing to take a day off work to drive as much as all day just to get to a VA facility. It would eliminate nearly all those travel claims also thus saving even more money. VA would not need to build all those hundred million dollar hospitals either or staff and maintain them. I don't know maybe it is just to simple and we are dealing with the government which never ever takes the simple way out. Just seems to me that most people would rather go to their local doctor who they have known for many years than to the VA and get a different doctor nearly every time they go. Lots more continuity in treatment and better treatment because it would be easier to get an appointment, that is currently usually at least a month wait. I know nearly all the veterans that I have talked to think this would be a huge improvement over what we currently have to deal with. Yes the treatment might cost a bit more but the savings of not needing all the VA facilities, clinics, and staff would far outweigh the added cost. Is there more oppertunity for abuse, sure but the benefits far outweigh the downside of those few people who will abuse the system no matter how it is done. We all need to start demanding a change in the way we get our health care. Start standing up and bitching to your congressmen and senators and don't take no for an answer.

Cprl Holdens wife

May 20, 2014 - 3:11pm

people like you need to run for office. I would vote for you.

Gary Baugh

April 4, 2014 - 6:43am

I Like and agree with your idea James. GOD BLESS YOU!!!

Bill Atkeison

April 4, 2014 - 7:11pm

Amen, Brother ...

Terry Nardone

April 3, 2014 - 5:55pm

If they were with the troops in Vietnam where I was they would have been Fragged!!!

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