Prohibiting VA Senior Exec Bonuses for 5 Years Would Save $18 Million

Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich. authored the Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act. Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich. authored the Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Putting a five-year moratorium on all bonuses for senior executives at the Veterans Affairs Department would save the federal government $18 million, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The provision was included as an attachment to the 2013 Putting Veterans Funding First Act to ensure VA is funded one year in advance. That bill was introduced by House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and primarily aims to shield VA from future budget uncertainty. It won the committee's approval but hasn't yet made it to the House floor. 

This was not the first time the veterans committee has targeted performance awards for employees in the Senior Executive Service; a similar amendment was included on the 2013 GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act, which also cleared the committee but has not yet been taken up by the full House. 

The Demanding Accountability for Veterans Act -- which targets “bureaucrats in Washington who drag their feet and don’t do their jobs,” according to the bill’s author, Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Mich. -- also recently cleared the House panel. The bill would make it easier for supervisors to remove performance bonuses or fire employees who are not adequately addressing problems identified by the VA’s inspector general.

Amendments attached to that bill would increase fees for certain veterans applying for VA loans and verify the incomes of VA pension recipients to ensure they qualify for their benefits. These two changes would save the federal government $182 million over five years, according to the CBO.

Another amendment would allow veterans whose nursing home care is paid for by VA to live in medical foster homes. This provision would cost $170 million over five years, CBO said. 

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