VA Accountability Measure One Step Closer to Senate Passage

Committee approves bipartisan legislation, now heads to full Senate for vote

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., ranking member of the committee, were joined today by their fellow cosponsors of the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act in applauding the bipartisan committee passage of this legislation to improve accountability at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The measure, which passed the committee by voice vote, would reform the VA by allowing the secretary to dismiss bad employees and ensure appropriate due process protections for whistleblowers.

Along with Isakson, Rubio and Tester, 20 other senators who are cosponsors of the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act urged the Senate to pass the legislation without delay, including Senators Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., John Boozman, R-Ark., Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Thad Cochran, R-Miss., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Steve Daines, R-Mont., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Dean Heller, R-Nev., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., John Kennedy, R-La., John McCain, R-Ariz., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Bill Nelson, D-Fla., David Perdue, R-Ga., Mike Rounds, R-S.D., Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.

“We applaud today’s bipartisan committee vote to advance this critical legislation that will help change the culture and improve accountability at the VA,” said the senators following today’s committee vote. “We hope the Senate will follow suit and take up this bipartisan legislation without delay so that VA Secretary Shulkin has the tools he needs to hold bad actors accountable and protect whistleblowers from the threat of retaliation.” 

The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act was introduced by Isakson, Rubio and Tester on May 11. Following today’s committee approval, the legislation now moves to the full Senate for a vote on final passage.

The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act is widely supported by key veterans stakeholders including the VA and U.S. House VA committee leadership. This legislation has also won the support of several veterans advocacy groups that represent millions of veterans in the United States and key government accountability groups. Read more about the legislation’s support here.

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The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the 115th Congress. Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate VA Committee since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the military as well as more than 750,000 veterans.