House Once Again Targets VA Bonuses

Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Pa. introduced the amendment to to prohibit bonuses for any senior executives at VA in fiscal 2015. Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Pa. introduced the amendment to to prohibit bonuses for any senior executives at VA in fiscal 2015. Don Wright/AP File Photo

The House on Wednesday passed an amendment to the Veterans Affairs Department spending bill to prohibit bonuses for any senior executives at VA in fiscal 2015, despite outcry from federal employee groups that say the ban will drive employees out of federal service.

The amendment, introduced by Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Pa., passed without objection by voice vote. The larger, $71 billion spending bill, which also appropriates funds for military construction projects, passed easily by a 416-1 vote.

“Paying bonuses to senior executives of an organization with an abysmal performance record is ridiculous,” Rothfus said on the House floor when introducing his amendment. “These valuable resources should be used to ensure that our veterans receive the first-rate service and care they rightfully deserve.”

The House cleared a similar amendment during last year’s appropriations process for fiscal 2014, but the Senate never took up the legislation. The Republican-controlled House has repeatedly targeted the VA after the agency has consistently displayed poor oversight and fallen short of claims backlog reduction goals. Members have passed several bills to eliminate bonuses and to make it easier to fire executives.

Still, the VA and advocacy groups disapproved of the measure.

“The action by the House today was unnecessary and does nothing to address the critical issues of the claims backlog and access to patient care,” the Senior Executives Association said in a statement. “A blanket ban on performance awards only serves to punish those senior executives who are high performing and those who may not have a direct line of responsibility for the issues being raised in Congress.”

A report on the original language of the spending measure said members’ concerns over senior executives’ bonuses had been “assuaged.”

“VA has centralized senior executive award decisions, strengthened the link between organizational performance and awards, added an additional level of review in consideration of awards, and significantly reduced the value of awards compared to prior years,” the report stated. “Most importantly, the secretary has demonstrated his willingness to use the bonus system as a way to reward and penalize staff based on performance.”

VA has made progress delivering care to veterans,  the department said in a statement. “VA must remain competitive to recruit and retain the best people in order to continue our progress." the statement said. 

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

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

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

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

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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