Veterans are the backbone of our country; Texas alone is home to 1.6 million of our nation’s finest men and women. Without those who have served, we would not be the great nation we are today - a nation that is a champion of democracy and freedom worldwide. While it is impossible for us to properly express our profound respect and appreciation for all of our brave men and women who have worn our nation’s uniform, we can continue to work to improve their quality of life once they take off the uniform.
Fortunately, we now have an administration that is committed to ensuring our nation’s veterans have the proper access to care, services, and the benefits they have earned and rightfully deserve. To achieve this, it is critical we hold the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to the highest standards and if they fall short, we must ensure they are appropriately held accountable.
This is why I am extremely pleased that on June 23rd President Donald Trump signed the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 into law. This is a great step forward towards a solution to the VA’s many scandals and reports of mistreatment of our veterans over recent years. Sadly, these scandals have included lengthy wait times and inexcusable deaths, among other tragedies. This alone is unacceptable and the lack of accountability to those responsible for these mishaps is even more disturbing. Our veterans deserve better and the time has finally come for this mistreatment to end.
Specifically, this law makes it easier for the VA to dismiss or suspend employees who are neither performing to expectations nor providing the level of service our veterans deserve. Other aspects of this law include protecting those who report neglect - known as whistleblowers. In addition, the law allows the Secretary to reduce benefits of employees convicted of crimes that have influenced the individual’s performance while employed at the department. This bipartisan piece of legislation will help ensure our veterans are treated with the respect they deserve by the employees of the VA.
As the son of a World War II veteran, I have been incredibly disappointed with the unruly treatment our veterans have received over the past few years and am thrilled this reforming piece of legislation to change the culture at the VA has been signed into law. Generation after generation of our veterans have molded our great nation into the beacon of hope and democracy it is today, and we owe them all a debt of gratitude. We should all thank them regularly for their selfless service, sacrifice, and accomplishments.
Throughout my years in Congress, I have had the privilege to cross paths with a countless number of our heroes and I am committed to enhance our efforts to protect our veterans.
I encourage you to visit my website, www.mccaul.house.gov, for more information on constituent services and legislative updates. Also, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to get the latest updates on my work in Washington and the 10th District of Texas. It continues to be a great honor to represent you in the United States House of Representatives.