Sen. Johnny Isakson once again pushing VA accountability legislation

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson is on the verge of passing legislation that would make firing VA employees easier. This in response to years of complaints that VA health centers around the country have kept bad employees on board. Isakson says it’s time to clean up the VA.

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) says this legislation will expedite the firing process for bad VA employees.

“We’re awfully glad that we’re on the cusp of getting real accountability in the VA,” said Isakson.

He’s cosponsoring legislation called The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. The bill hopes to expedite firing processes for bad acting employees and protect those who divulge information.

“If you have people who are egregiously taking advantage of their job or taking advantage of other veterans, they ought to be able to act swiftly and get them out of their job,” said Isakson.

Isakson says because of the long firing process currently in place, bad employees have been transferred around the country rather than fired. VA Secretary David Shulkin says bringing change is crucial.

“If there’s one issue that everybody agrees upon is that we need to do as much as we possibly can to honor that commitment,” said Shulkin.

Isakson says Democrats are on board because they can no longer deny the problems in the VA. But David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, says Democrats are worried if they don’t support the legislation, it’ll look like they don’t care about veterans.

“It would be harmful to the employees and as well harmful to the morale of the department,” said Cox.

He says this legislation cuts down on due process of rights for employees and lowers evidence requirements.

“AFGE does not want bad people working for the VA. We want them removed, we want them gone, we want it done through the proper procedure,” said Cox.

The legislation is currently sitting in the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. A committee vote on the legislation is expected to take place Wednesday afternoon.