Walz Statement on H.R. 1994
Washington, DC [7/29/15] – Today, Congressman Tim Walz released the following statement after voting against H.R. 1994:
“We need real solutions to reform the firing process at VA and ensure bad actors are held accountable. Unfortunately, this bill isn’t it. While the title may sound nice, by ending vital protections for whistleblowers and allowing fired VA employees to eventually get their jobs back, this legislation would compound the problem it seeks to solve. Let me be clear, this bill is nothing more than a partisan messaging bill meant to tear down the VA, not to reform it. I’m disappointed that the VA Committee has allowed partisan politics to seep in to our otherwise stellar record of bipartisan collaboration. As we move forward, I’m committed to working with Republicans and Democrats to put forward real solutions to increase accountability at the VA.”
Walz supports an alternative bill, the Fair VA Accountability Act. This measure would provide greater accountability while maintaining due process; this would ensure that when bad actors get fired, they stayed fired.
The Fair VA Accountability Act:
- Allows VA to immediately suspend without pay any employee whose misconduct poses a direct threat to veterans’ health and safety;
- Prohibits senior VA executives from receiving VA contracts for at least a year after they leave the VA;
- Protects whistleblowers by requiring mandatory back-pay for any employee who proves that dismissal was a result of whistleblower retaliation; And
- Requires the IG to report on the percentage of employees fired who claimed whistleblower protections.