Smith Calls for Changes at the VA

May 21, 2014 Issues: Defense, Veterans

Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE) today criticized President Obama’s statement on the status of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and called for changes at the department amid growing accusations of mismanagement and abuse. 

There are reports as many as 40 veterans died waiting for medical appointments at the Phoenix, Arizona Veterans Health System.  Some of these veterans may have been placed on a secret waiting list to avoid scheduling appointments within the required period.

“Given the seriousness of the allegations against the VA, I would prefer Secretary Shinseki resign,” said Smith.  “The President’s statement today was an astonishing endorsement of the status quo.  Veterans deserve better.

“I am also disappointed the Obama Administration has already dismissed a House bill which would provide more flexibility to hold senior-level VA employees accountable for their actions.  The lack of support for this bill is yet another indication there are no plans to change the culture of bureaucracy.

“We must insist on reforms to ensure this never happens again.”

Today, the House of Representatives is scheduled to consider H.R. 4031, the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act.  Congressman Smith is a cosponsor of this legislation which would allow the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to remove Senior Executive Service employees based on their performance.