Senator Wants to Make It Easier to Sue VA Employees, Take Their Money

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., will soon introduce a bill to allow veterans to sue VA workers who tampered with health records. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., will soon introduce a bill to allow veterans to sue VA workers who tampered with health records. Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Lawmakers have found all sorts of ways to penalize Veterans Affairs Department employees for the recent scandal involving extended waits for veterans seeking health care.

The House passed a bill to make it easier to fire VA executives, a Senate committee cleared a measure to prohibit bonuses for some agency workers and President Obama promised to hold misbehaving employees accountable.

Now, a Republican senator wants to help veterans sue VA employees.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., will soon introduce a bill to allow veterans to sue VA workers who tampered with health records. The bill would present “no burden to the taxpayer,” Toomey said, as guilty federal employees would have to pay any damages out of pocket.

The legislation would also allow department Secretary Eric Shinseki to fire VA employees immediately, “without the months of appeals and hearings that are mandated by civil service laws and union contracts.”

In addition to holding employees accountable, Toomey said, the bill would reveal the “true extent of secret VA wait lists,” as court proceedings would reveal emails, memorandums and voicemails. An ongoing VA inspector general investigation has already done that, however.

Toomey will formally introduce the bill in the coming weeks, after the Senate returns from its current recess.  

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