Washington, D.C. - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today supported legislation in the Senate that will increase accountability within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and establish greater protections for whistleblowers.
"Unfortunately, based on the experiences of many Colorado veterans, it is clear that we cannot uphold our promise to them without increased accountability at the VA," Bennet said. "The legislation we passed today will improve the quality and timeliness of care while also protecting those who work every day to serve our veterans. Our veterans deserve to know the people responsible for their care are held to high standards, and that if those standards aren't met, there is a clear path forward."
The purpose of the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 is three-fold: to increase accountability within the VA, improve VA leadership, and protect whistleblowers. The legislation encourages managers and patients to address poor performance and misconduct of VA employees and grants Congress more oversight of the department.
Bennet consistently has fought to hold the VA accountable for mismanagement within the agency. Bennet secured an amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 with Senator Cory Gardner that directed the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study on the administration and oversight of VA contracts for the design and construction of major medical facility projects. The senators also secured a provision that stripped the VA of its authority to manage major medical construction projects over $100 million.
Bennet also introduced a bill earlier this year to increase oversight and accountability of private companies that contract with the VA to provide services for veterans.