Marco Rubio and Jeff Miller Tackle Veterans Affairs Reform
Around the State
Two Florida Republicans teamed up on Tuesday to launch an effort to reform the federal Veterans Affairs Department.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., the chairman of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee, introduced the VA Management Accountability Act of 2014.
Rubio and Miller pointed toward the recent deaths of 31 veterans at VA facilities, which could have been prevented, and the lack of accountability VA officials faced in the aftermath as to why this bill was needed.
“Widespread lack of accountability and a mounting disability benefits backlog has left many of our veterans without proper care, even resulting in the tragic and preventable deaths of at least 31 veterans," Rubio said on Tuesday. “The least we can do in return for our veterans’ courageous service and sacrifice is ensure that they receive the quality care and treatment they deserve. This bill equips VA leaders with the tools needed to address and correct the problems at hand. Giving the VA secretary complete authority to manage executives based on their performance discourages career employees from evading appropriate punishments and helps restore the public’s faith in the organization.”
“This legislation would give VA leaders a tool to address a problem that continues to get worse by the day. VA’s widespread and systemic lack of accountability is exacerbating all of its most pressing problems, including the department’s stubborn disability benefits backlog and a mounting toll of at least 31 recent preventable veteran deaths at VA medical centers across the country,” Miller said.
The Panhandle congressman insisted most VA employees were doing their jobs and helping America’s veterans.
“While the vast majority of VA’s more than 300,000 employees and executives are dedicated and hard-working, the department’s well-documented reluctance to ensure its leaders are held accountable for mistakes is tarnishing the reputation of the organization and may actually be encouraging more veteran suffering instead of preventing it,” Miller said. “With all the problems VA hospitals and regional offices have recently had and new issues continually arising, we need to give the VA secretary the authority he needs to fix things. That’s what my bill would do.”
Rubio’s and Miller’s legislation has won the backing of AMVETS (American Veterans), Concerned Veterans for America, and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.