VA Receives Golden Fleece on Day House Passes Major VA Reform
Today, Congressman French Hill (AR-02) announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would receive the Golden Fleece Award for the rash of drug thefts at VA health facilities. Recent data from the Drug Enforcement Administration shows the rate of reported missing drugs at VA health facilities was more than double that of private sector hospitals.
Since reinstituting the Golden Fleece Award in 2015, Hill has given VA more awards than any other federal agency. “It is clear that there has been a leadership void at VA for a long time,” said Hill. “Congress has been trying to address this problem for years, but the previous administration continued to protect poorly performing employees who were working against the best interests of veterans and taxpayers. While we experienced these problems in Little Rock through the patient data manipulation and the solar panel debacle, this represented a national trend, as many other areas of the country also underwent some form of mismanagement at their local VA facilities.”
Today, in an effort to address the accountability issue at VA, the House passed S. 1094, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017. S. 1094 would allow the VA Secretary to remove or reprimand senior executive service employees as well as most of the non-senior executive service employees for misconduct or performance warranting that action.
“Our veterans deserve a VA that doesn’t tolerate data manipulation for personal gain and management that doesn’t waste the valuable tax dollars that were appropriated for helping veterans. Today’s vote, while not a silver bullet, is an important step in changing the culture at VA and ensuring that those serving our veterans are held accountable for their actions and operate in a way that always puts the veterans first,” said Hill.