SHAHEEN CO-SPONSORS BIPARTISAN VA ACCOUNTABILITY LEGISLATION

Identical Language Passed Senate Appropriations Committee Last Week

May 28, 2014

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) today announced she is co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation, the VA Management Accountability Act, to give the Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary the authority to fire or demote senior level employees based on their performance. Shaheen supported identical language that was approved unanimously by the Senate Appropriations Committee last week as an amendment to the FY 2015 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

“The Inspector General's preliminary findings released this afternoon are horrendous and underscore the need for immediate action,” Shaheen said. “We need to not only implement reforms, but there must be accountability for those who have failed the thousands of brave men and women who have served our country. I am cosponsoring the VA Management Accountability Act, which is identical to legislation I supported last week in the Senate Appropriations Committee, because it will help hold those responsible for the misconduct at the VA accountable for their actions.”

“But we cannot stop there. Moving forward I hope we can work together to address the ongoing problems at the VA and ultimately do what’s best for our veterans,” added Shaheen. “Senator Sanders has comprehensive legislation that will not only implement stronger reforms at the VA but also invest in additional priorities – such as supporting expanded access to health care – that we should consider immediately on behalf of all who have served.”

Shaheen voted for the Sanders legislation earlier this year but the bill did not generate the 60 votes it needed to advance.

The FY 2015 Appropriations bill also included multiple Shaheen provisions to further help reduce the veterans’ disability claims backlog and improve health care access for New Hampshire veterans. The U.S. House of Representatives also cleared the VA Management Accountability Act last week, 390-33. 

Over the course of her career, Shaheen has worked tirelessly to make care more accessible for New Hampshire veterans. She recently announced the approval of two VA health care sites in New Hampshire’s North Country and has also co-sponsored legislation that would require the VA to further expand access to health care for New Hampshire veterans. Earlier this year she also introduced two pieces of legislation to bolster job and economic opportunities for the nation’s veterans, and she has also been a lead proponent of encouraging veterans legal clinics to provide veterans with basic legal services to help reduce the claims backlog.