More than 840,000 veterans call Virginia home and more than 20 million reside in the United States. They have served on battlefields across the globe, been stationed at bases both at home and abroad, and spent months, and even years, away from loved ones. They have sacrificed greatly to defend the freedoms you and I enjoy each day. In turn, it is our duty to ensure that they have access to the care needed when their military service is over.
Recent reports of what can only be characterized as gross mismanagement within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are extremely alarming. We have heard claims of veterans waiting several months for treatment. Just a few days ago, information surfaced about the deaths of approximately 40 veterans who were waiting for treatment from a Phoenix Va facility. Ongoing delays of this nature that are denying much-needed care to patients should not exist within the Va system.
The House of Representatives is closely monitoring this situation and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is investigating. Our nation’s heroes and their families deserve the truth, and the Va must be held accountable.
Reports have shown that oftentimes Va senior executives who may have overseen mismanagement were still rewarded with bonuses or positive performance reviews. In order to give the Va more flexibility to root out the employees who have failed to serve our veterans, I signed on as a cosponsor of H.R. 4031, the Va Management Accountability Act. This timely legislation would empower the current and future Va Secretary to remove employees of the Senior Executive Service whose actions warrant removal. Instead of a blind eye to abuses within the Va system, senior executives should be held accountable for any issues with the service being received by veterans. Those who have risked it all for our country deserve employees who will give their absolute best.
Some of the leading veterans’ service organizations have also voiced their support for this legislation, including the American Legion, AMVETS, Concerned Veterans for America, and the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. I look forward to supporting this legislation when it comes before the House for a vote.
As was evident from the recent sixth district Veterans’ Service Fair in Lynchburg, there is a great need for continuing care for our veterans, especially the World War II generation. The Va needs to address mismanagement within the system and take steps to ensure that care is being received in a timely manner and to continue working to cut the backlog of benefit claims for veterans. If any local veterans have experienced issues with the Va or need assistance navigating red tape, I urge them to contact one of my sixth district offices or submit a request by email at Goodlatte.House.Gov.