NFFE Submits Statement Opposing Restoration of the Failed VA Accountability Act

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Contact: Matt Dorsey
Phone: (202) 550-6987

July 12, 2023

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing to discuss H.R. 4278, the Restore Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability Act. The National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) submitted a statement for the record opposing this legislation, which would restore the previously failed VA Accountability Act of 2017. The original bill was signed into law under former President Trump to covertly strip away the rights and due process protections of VA employees, many of whom are proud veterans themselves.

“Although the original act’s proponents proclaimed the law would hold poor performing managers accountable, the new policy allowed for dedicated frontline workers to be needlessly disciplined and fired,” said NFFE National President Randy Erwin. “Under the old law, employees were often subject to discipline or termination that was completely out of line with the alleged poor performance or misbehavior. This is simply another attempt to weaken the rights and workplace protections of dedicated federal employees, which will diminish the healthcare provided to our veterans.”

The VA Accountability Act of 2017 failed to achieve the supposed intent of increasing accountability at the VA. Due to numerous flaws, violations of established case law and merit principles, and many federal legal challenges, the VA Accountability Act was eventually made obsolete when the VA suspended the authorities granted by the law earlier this year.

“Proud nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals at the VA will not tolerate a return to a hostile work environment if the VA Accountability Act is restored,” continued Erwin. “Many will leave for positions outside of federal service and it will prove increasingly difficult to replace their experience and professionalism. For years, the VA has faced challenges with recruitment and retention. Right now, the department is experiencing a staffing crisis. Should the VA Accountability Act be restored, these issues will only be exacerbated, and our nation’s veterans will suffer the consequences.”