WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed major legislation Tuesday to hold employees more accountable at the Department of Veterans Affairs in the wake of numerous scandals in recent years.
The bipartisan legislation passed the House Tuesday 368 to 55. The bill already passed the Senate and it now goes to President Donald Trump who is expected to sign it into law.
Reforming the VA and increasing accountability on VA employees was a consistent theme of Trump’s during the campaign.
The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act would protect whistleblowers within the department and make it easier to fire federal employees.
“This has been a long time in coming,” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said Tuesday, calling this legislation one of, “if not the biggest step we have taken to turn this page” following scandals within the Veterans Administration.
“With this legislation, Secretary (David) Shulkin will have the tools that he needs to deliver the kind of change that our veterans have been demanding. And most fundamentally, it will assure veterans that when we say that we are a grateful nation, we mean it,” Ryan said Tuesday morning ahead of the vote.
This legislation - introduced by Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, Jon Tester, D-Montana, and Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, has dozens of co-sponsors in the Senate and passed by voice vote in the upper chamber on June 6.