05.20.14

Burr, Fischer Introduce Bill Banning Bonuses to Veterans Health Administration Employees

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, andDeb Fischer (R-Neb.), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, announced today they have introduced legislation to prohibit the payment of bonuses to employees at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) through Fiscal Year 2015. The VHA, which manages medical centers across the country, is under investigation for placing veterans on "secret wait lists" to allegedly hide the true number of veterans waiting for care for more than two weeks. Reports suggest dozens of veterans across the nation died while waiting for VHA-provided care.

"It is appalling and totally unacceptable that a Department that is being scrutinized by Congress and the media for a string of national scandals is giving out bonuses," said Senator Burr. "It is totally inconceivable that the Veterans Health Administration can justify rewarding themselves while they fail our veterans. It is my hope that the Senate will swiftly adopt this piece of legislation so that such gross misconduct is no longer rewarded at taxpayer expense."

"It is disappointing that an Act of Congress is even necessary to stop bonuses at the Veterans Health Administration given the growing national scandal surrounding the agency,"said Senator Fischer."But where the administration falls short - particularly when it comes to enhancing accountability - Congress must step forward. Funding should be focused on fixing the problem, not rewarding employees entrenched in a failing bureaucracy. I hope the Senate quickly adopts this legislation as a small, but important step forward to restoring public trust."

A copy of the legislation is available online HERE.

In April 2013, Secretary Shinseki announced that the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) would not be awarding performance-based bonuses for senior executives due to "a failure to meet performance goals for reducing a sizable backlog in claims processing." However, Shinseki has not acted similarly with regard to the VHA's recent scandal.