President Trump promised in the campaign to clean up the VA, and this week he took the first major step.
A major roadblock to any meaningful reform at the VA was the fact that you essentially could never fire any VA employee. Complete governmental nonsense! So Trump the businessman just did away with that absurd rule! With this major impediment removed, additional VA reforms will come swiftly!
Here is more on the story, from Western Journalism:
For months on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump promised that if he was elected, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would weed out people, programs and policies that get in the way of giving America’s veterans the treatment they deserve.
On Friday, he delivered, signing a bill that gives the VA’s leadership new power to fire employees who do not get the job done and protect whistle-blowers who reveal scandals at the sprawling system designed to serve veterans.
During the ceremony, he cited the case of Sgt. Michael Verardo of Rhode Island, who was wounded in a 2010 IED explosion in Afghanistan, losing an arm and a leg.
Verardo, who attended the ceremony, said he did not expect to return home and face a “broken VA system.”
“Michael lost two limbs in defending our country — and yet he had to wait 57 days to get his prosthetic leg repaired — that’s a long time, Michael — and over three-and-half years for modifications to make his house more accessible,” Trump said. “What happened to Michael is happening to many, but it’s rarely happening under our leadership and David’s (VA Secretary David Shulkin) leadership anymore. That I can tell you.”
Trump shook hands with Verardo at the ceremony.
“I didn’t get to shake your hand, Michael. Huh? Get up, Michael,” Trump said to applause.
“He gets up better than I do,” Trump then said to laughter.
Trump adopted a more serious tone as he spoke about the VA system.
“As you all know all too well, for many years the government failed to keep its promises to our veterans. We all remember the nightmare that veterans suffered during the VA scandals that were exposed a few years ago. Veterans were put on secret waitlists, given the wrong medication, given the bad treatments, and ignored in moments of crisis for them. Many veterans died waiting for a simple doctor’s appointment. What happened was a national disgrace,” he said.
Trump continued: “And yet, some of the employees involved in these scandals remained on the payrolls. Outdated laws kept the government from holding those who failed our veterans accountable.”
“Today, we are finally changing those laws — wasn’t easy, but we did have some fantastic help — to make sure that the scandal of what we suffered so recently never, ever happens again — and that our veterans can get the care they so richly deserve,” he added.
Trump said the new legislation “gives the secretary the authority to remove federal employees who fail and endanger our veterans — and to do so quickly and effectively. It’s been a long time since you’ve heard those words. Those entrusted with the sacred duty of serving our veterans will be held accountable for the care they provide.”
“At the same time, this bill protects whistle-blowers who do the right thing. We want to reward, cherish, and promote the many dedicated employees at the VA. This legislation also gives the VA secretary the authority to appoint new medical directors at VA hospitals — something which was almost impossible to do in the past. And these are going to be talented, talented people,” he added.
Verardo said the event was “a great day” and noted that “I’ve met many great doctors at the VA who care about the veterans.”
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