From Scott DesJarlais, Congressman representing our area:
Veterans issues are at the forefront of House Republicans' agenda in Congress. Monday (7/24/17), Rep. Scott DesJarlais, M.D., voted for bills to fund the Veterans Choice program, allowing vets to seek private care outside the Veterans Administration health system, and to extend veterans' education benefits to non-traditional programs and past the current expiration deadline.
The series of legislation builds on the Veterans Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, a significant reform to the federal bureaucracy, which President Donald Trump signed into law last month. That law eases hiring and firing rules at the VA, authorizes the secretary to reduce underperforming or negligent employees' pay and pensions, and to recoup improper payments.
"We're making significant strides to provide U.S. military vets the best health care possible. That means striking outdated civil service rules that protect underperforming federal employees at the expense of heroes who need their help,"said Rep. DesJarlais, a member of the House Armed Services Committee. "New guidelines will attract better doctors and nurses and reward those who do their jobs properly."
Rep. DesJarlais (TN-04) also voted yesterday to make VA employee bonuses and moving expenses more transparent, after investigations revealed employees hiding patients on secret waiting lists to collect performance bonuses, and senior executives abusing relocation benefits. As well, the Congressman voted for measures to create efficiency at VA procurement offices and to encourage veteran-owned businesses.
He voted to train more physician assistants and for childcare for vets undergoing serious treatment at VA facilities. The House-approved bills will now move to the Senate for consideration.