Trump signs Isakson bill aimed at VA accountability

By:  Dave Williams

President Donald Trump signed legislation Friday that seeks to improve accountability at the federal agency serving America's veterans.

The bipartisan Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act was introduced by U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., who chairs the Senate committee with jurisdiction over veterans issues.

"This is yet another positive step forward for our veterans," Isakson said. "We owe our veterans the best possible care and support. ... By helping to instill a culture of accountability at the VA, we can see to it that we deliver on that promise."

The new law will increase the VA's authority to remove employees at all levels of the department, shortening the removal process and ensuring that an individual removed from the agency is not kept on its payroll. It also will make it easier for the VA to remove poor-performing senior executives and replace them with qualified candidates.

The Senate passed the bill on June 6, and the U.S. House of Representatives followed suit a week later.

The accountability measure represents the first major reform to civil service at the VA since Congress passed legislation three years ago improving veterans' access to health care.