President Donald Trump on Friday signed into law what he called “the largest reforms to the VA in its history.” The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 aims to, among other things, end the issues with timely appointments at VA medical facilities.
“Today we are taking a very historic action,” the president said. “This law will finally give the VA secretary the authority to remove federal employees who fail and endanger our Veterans — and to do so quickly and effectively.”
“In just a short time we’ve already achieved transformative change at the VA and, we’re just getting started,” Trump added.
According to the White House, This bill gives senior officials in the Department of Veterans Affairs the power to fire failing employees and establishes safeguards to protect those who reveal wrongdoing in the agency. The bill will incentivize VA employees to provide America’s veterans with the care they deserve and hold these employees accountable when they fall short of their responsibilities.
You can watch the entire White House press conference on this historic bill here.
Army Veteran Michael Verardo, a sergeant with the 82nd Airborne who was injured by an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2010 also spoke at the signing. Verardo, who was joined by his wife Sarah, has had more than 100 surgeries and countless hours of therapy all while struggling with the VA’s broken system.
“Today is a new day and this administration has fulfilled its promise to put a Veteran in charge of his own care,” Verardo told those gathered for the bill signing. “Thank you for ensuring that we are not forgotten and that we will receive the care that we deserve.”