House Again Targets VA Managers Who 'Drag Their Feet and Don’t Do Their Jobs'

Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich. United States Forces Korea

The House passed another bill on Monday to ease the firing of managers at the Veterans Affairs Department and restrict their bonuses.

The chamber cleared unanimously by voice vote the Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act, which would require the VA secretary to identify who is responsible for implementing the solution to a problem at the agency as determined by its inspector general. If the identified employees failed to make progress on the IG’s recommendations, then the bill would allow the secretary to fire or withhold performance awards from them.

It is the most recent in a string of measures Congress has advanced in reaction to the extended waitlist scandal that has engulfed the agency. Lawmakers have not yet sent any of the bills to President Obama -- who has made his own promise to hold VA employees accountable -- but both the House and Senate have acted.

A bipartisan pair of senators struck a deal last week on legislation to ease the firing of VA senior executives, allow certain veterans to seek private care on the government’s dime and fund new medical personnel and facilities. Senate leadership expected a vote this week, while key House players met the agreement with tepid approval.

The legislation agreed to on Monday, originally introduced by Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich., in May 2013, would notify each manager responsible for fixing a given problem of what is expected of them, and include those expectations in the managers’ performance evaluations. The bill specifically prohibits the agency from paying a bonus to any manager whose issue remains unresolved.

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee approved the measure last August. Benishek said the bill was targeted at “bureaucrats in Washington who drag their feet and don’t do their jobs.” Unlike the previous House-approved bill to ease the firing of VA employees, this bill would apply to any employee in a managerial role, not just those in the Senior Executive Service.

Benishek, who has worked as a part-time VA surgeon for 20 years, said his bill would change the “culture of mismanagement and complacency” at the agency. 

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.