Senate, House VA Committees Republican Leadership Issue Statements on IG Report
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee (SVAC), Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-Tenn.), ranking member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (HVAC), and Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.), the incoming ranking member of HVAC, today released the following statements after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report into senior VA officials’ response to a veteran’s sexual assault allegations at the Washington D.C. VA Medical Center.
"Every veteran must feel safe and secure within the VA system that was created to serve them," said Chairman Moran. "The report from the VA OIG details not only a disappointing response from VA leadership to a reported sexual assault in a VA facility, but also a failure by those leaders to fulfil their duty in responding to an important IG inquiry. OIG reports should be taken seriously, and I have a great respect for them, especially through my role as chairman of this committee. Ultimately, when it comes to ensuring that veterans feel respected and safe, the VA leadership team’s treatment of this case fails to meet the standard we expect VA facilities across the country to meet."
"Every veteran deserves to be safe at VA and to know that they will be treated with dignity and respect if they report mistreatment," said Ranking Member Roe. "It’s clear from the IG’s report that that standard was not met when this veteran came forward to report sexual harassment at the DC VA Medical Center last year. She deserved better. After a thorough investigation by all accounts, the VA Inspector General made no formal recommendations regarding criminal, disciplinary, and other actions. I have personally known Secretary Wilkie and his team to act with honor, honesty, and the best interests of their fellow veterans at heart and I would have been shocked and deeply disappointed had the IG found otherwise. I am proud of the work that Congress and VA have done, together, to improve services to women and to create a more welcoming, inclusive, and safe culture for all veterans. That work has led to high rates of trust among the women who seek VA care and culminated in the Deborah Sampson Act, which the House will send to President Trump’s desk in the coming days. Yet, sexual harassment and abuse remain all too common in VA medical facilities and our work will not be over until it is eradicated once and for all."
"Congress and the Trump Administration have made great progress to institute a safer and more accountable culture within the VA, but today’s IG report proves that we have much further to go," said incoming Ranking Member Bost. "I am disappointed in any instance in which the VA fails to be a safe place for our veterans to seek the care and benefits they have earned. Women are the fastest growing group of servicemembers and veterans. As the incoming Ranking Member, a veteran, a father, and a grandfather, I fully support the Committee’s continued bipartisan efforts to eliminate harassment and abuse from the VA’s culture. I am committed to taking every action to ensure that all of our nation’s veterans are safe, welcomed, and well-cared for within the VA’s walls."
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