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:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

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