Today, Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 4031, the VA Management Accountability Act:
"The president's reluctant acknowledgment today of widespread mismanagement at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was deeply disappointing. Recent news of secret, off-the-books waiting lists for veterans seeking treatment in Phoenix in order to artificially lower reported wait times for care represent just the tip of the iceberg. For over a year, the House Veterans Affairs Committee has been conducting a bipartisan investigation into systemic failures at the VA, including unsanitary conditions, an immense claims backlog, and in some cases, woefully substandard care. All the while, VA officials have stone-walled investigators, hid from responsibility behind bureaucratic complexity, and failed to make the changes necessary to meet our obligations to our veterans.
"We don't yet know the full extent of the problem, or how many veterans and their families have been hurt by these failures already, but we can all agree that we must move in a dramatically new direction, because it is clear that the status quo is just not working. The president today asked for our patience and a long review ending in potential accountability. But the men and women who bravely served this country and sacrificed so much deserve immediate action and immediate consequences for the people at the VA who broke faith with our veterans. That's why today the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4031, the VA Management Accountability Act, to give VA leaders every possible tool to improve management and hold their team responsible for delivering high quality care to our nation's veterans, to whom we owe the greatest debt of gratitude. This legislation gives the VA Secretary the legal authority to demote or fire senior departmental executives who are not fulfilling their responsibilities. This is one in a series of steps we will take to help the Administration turn things around at the VA. The U.S. Senate should pass this bill immediately, and the president should sign it without delay."