National Commander Charles E. Schmidt released the followed statement regarding today's introduction of the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017:
Today, Sens. Marco Rubio, Jon Tester and Johnny Isakson introduced the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017.
The American Legion applauds this bipartisan effort to provide Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin additional tools to increase accountability and address poor performance within the VA.
The media's exposure of the 2014 Phoenix VA Medical Center wait-time scandal revealed that hundreds of veterans suffered and died while awaiting treatment.
Incompetent and uncaring employees throughout the VA system utterly failed to execute their fiduciary responsibilities. Furthermore, they failed to uphold the American peoples' promise to care for our veterans.
Despite multiple verified cases of gross misconduct, the VA secretary had little authority to hold employees accountable, and many veterans subsequently lost faith in the system.
This is why The American Legion vociferously urged Congress to provide the secretary much needed authorities so that he may take action to improve morale, incentivize desired behavior, deter misconduct, and eliminate corrupt or uncaring employees.
We thank Sens. Isakson, Tester and Rubio for their leadership and fidelity to our veterans.
The American Legion believes in the VA as a symbol of the American people's gratitude to the brave and selfless men and women who have faithfully served our great nation.