President Trump on Friday signed Veterans Affairs reform legislation meant to protect whistleblowers while making it easier to fire problematic employees at the department.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act passed by Congress earlier this month streamlines the process to remove, demote, or suspend VA employees for poor performance or misconduct. In addition, it authorizes the VA secretary to recoup any bonuses awarded to employees who have acted improperly.
“Veterans have fulfilled their duty to this nation and now, we must fulfill our duty to them,” Trump said. “So to every veteran who is here with us today, I just want to say two very simple words, thank you.”
Under the new law, protections for whistleblowers will be expanded and the VA will be prevented from dismissing an employee who has an open complaint against the department.
The bill was prompted by the 2014 scandal at the Phoenix medical center where patients died while waiting for health care.
“What happened was a national disgrace and yet, some of the employees involved in these scandals remained on the payrolls,” Trump said. “Outdated laws kept the government from holding those who failed our veterans accountable.”