Pryor Aims to Increase Efficiencies, Cut Waste at Veterans Affairs
Senator Mark Pryor today introduced legislation to transform the Department of Veterans Affairs' business practices in order to improve services to veterans and cut inefficiencies and wasteful spending.
"The decisions made by the VA have a tremendous impact on those who served our nation, which is why this agency needs to be on top of its game," Pryor said. "This legislation supports the VA's efforts to streamline its operations in order to better serve veterans and protect taxpayer dollars."
Pryor said his bill consolidates acquisition, logistics and program management activities under a newly-established Assistant Secretary who will oversee and streamline the agency's financial management and procurement practices. He said the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) purchases approximately $13 billion in products and services every year, and will benefit from a central office charged with ensuring consistent, sound and properly prioritized purchasing decisions.
Additionally, the legislation provides for eight additional positions to support the Assistant Secretary, including:
* Two Deputy Assistant Secretary positions to support the Acquisition, Logistics and Construction office;
* Five Deputy Assistant Secretary positions to support the VA's Office of Information and Technology; and
* One Deputy Assistant Secretary to support the Office of Management
"The size, scope and complexity of the VA require strong, central management to reign in inefficiencies and improve procurement activities. I agree with Secretary Shinseki who believes that better coordination and oversight will result in a more efficient VA," Pryor said.
In mid-June, during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing regarding military construction and veterans affairs, Secretary Eric Shinseki testified that he needed congressional authority similar to Pryor's proposal in order to "get some efficiency out of it so we have discipline and oversight."