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Congresswoman Claudia Tenney Introduces her First Piece of Legislation, The Department of Veterans Affairs Bonus Transparency Act

Measure will Increase Transparency and Oversight in the VA

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Washington, DC, March 30, 2017 | comments

Today, Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (R—NY) introduced her first bill as a Member of Congress, H.R.1690 the Department of Veterans Affairs Bonus Transparency Act. The measure was introduced with bipartisan support and nine original cosponsors including: Rep. Chris Collins (NY-27), Rep. John Faso (NY-19), Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9), Rep. Mike Coffman (CO-6), Rep. Jim Banks (IN-3), Rep. Walter Jones (NC-3), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2), Rep. Luis Correa (CA-46), and Rep. Mark Takano (CA-41).

Aimed at increasing oversight and maximizing transparency, this legislation would require that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) submit a report to Congress at the end of each fiscal year listing bonuses awarded to senior-level staff, including: VA Regional Office (VARO) directors, VA hospital directors, and Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN). On March 16, 2017, Tenney introduced the same measure as an amendment which was adopted to the VA Accountability First Act of 2017, which passed the House by a vote of 237 - 178.

“As a representative of a district with a large population of veterans who have honorably served our great nation and the parent of an active duty U.S. Marine, I am honored to introduce my first bill, which will provide oversight, accountability, and transparency in the VA. The men and women of the VA who have dedicated themselves in service to our veterans are to be commended. However, there are those who forget that their mission is to serve our veterans. In too many facilities across the country, senior-level VA personnel have received bonuses from the VA despite poor performance or outright negligence. This bill would simply increase oversight, ensuring that our veterans, who have made the selfless sacrifice to bravely serve our great nation, receive the highest quality of care possible,” said Congresswoman Claudia Tenney.

“This is a common sense bi-partisan bill that makes it easier for Congress to oversee how the Department of Veterans Affairs gives bonuses. It is good for the taxpayers and, most importantly, good for veterans. The VA has a history of giving bonuses to personnel who do not serve our nation’s veterans well. This bill allows Congress to ensure VA funds go to caring for our veterans and not underperforming employees,” said Congressman Lou Correa.

"The VA Secretary must set the bar high with goals that can be tracked and reported for Congressional review when required. All or any bonuses to be awarded within critical positions must meet the VA Secretary's mandates and only be signed off by the VA Secretary. The VA has many dedicated employees who want to help veterans, however they must be accountable and Congressional review would help. By the VA meeting the established goals and high standards, our Veterans' will receive the best care they deserve,” said Joe Fraccola, Commander of the CNY Chapter 490 Military Order of the Purple Heart.

“I strongly support this bill. It will provide much needed transparency and oversight of compensation for senior-level VA personnel. This increased accountability will improve performance throughout the VA and thus will enhance services to our veterans. Our veterans deserve nothing less,” said Al Eaton, President, Southern Tier Veterans Support Group.

“This proposed bill, if passed, would be helpful in causing the VA to formulate clear and indisputable directions for justifying bonuses to senior employees. As our nation's largest healthcare provider, it is vitally important that the VA spend its funds wisely, thereby making the maximum, efficient, and prudent use of the monies provided by Congress to maintain blue ribbon healthcare for our veterans,” said Benjamin W. Margolius COL, US Army (Ret).

Read the bill here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1690.

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Tags: Veterans

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