Trump signs order creating accountability office at VA

Posted April 30, 2017

Dems push Trump to fill national security posts Georgia campaigns keep up pressure ahead of runoff vote MORE (R-Ga.) praised the order as "making our veterans a top priority", and called it "a critical step toward helping Secretary Shulkin hold bad actors at the VA accountable".

The office's eventual head will report directly to VA Secretary David Shulkin, who said the office will help identify "barriers" that make it hard to fire or reassign employees who are no longer considered fit to work there and serve veterans.

But in conversations with high-level VSO representatives and D.C. insiders this week, Task & Purpose could find none who had seen a draft of the executive order or knew how it would work.

"And if (we) do identify that there are resources requirements needed, that we address those and that we make sure that there's an immediate focus on on this issue".

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Trump said the new office will "give our veterans the healthcare they need and the healthcare they deserve".

Trump promised reform earlier this year in a meeting with the leaders of prominent veteran groups.

"He's asking through his executive order for VA to do everything that it can internally", Shulkin said Wednesday at a White House briefing. Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia sponsored a similar bill past year that racked up 45 bipartisan cosponsors.

In this March 13, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks before signing an executive order on "Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch" in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. "This new office will only be effective if it is coupled with strong accountability legislation, like the VA Accountability First Act, to speed up the termination process for bad employees". "We, of course, were very concerned when we saw the reports and saw the video and it is not acceptable for us to treat our veterans but the most respect", Shulkin said.

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In 2014, as many as 40 veterans died while waiting months for appointments at the VA's medical center in Phoenix. "We want the secretary to weed out the non-performers and especially the criminals, regardless of whether the crime was committed on or off-duty".

The president has also signed Tester's bill that allows more veterans to seek private care if VA facilities are unable to provide services in a reasonable amount of time. But it's a tune many in Washington are dancing to.

The new office will report directly to the VA secretary.

Nevertheless, some advocates' optimism about today's signing is tempered by caution. He immediately relieved the facility's director of his duties and installed one of his close advisers, Lawrence Connell, as acting director to make sure the problems were fixed.

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