House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller thinks that his bill that allows management to fire VA employees for any reason is so successful that he wants to expand it to the rest of the federal government.
“If VA is the test case, VA is the test case. I would like to see it expanded,” the congressman from Florida said at a panel discussion at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Nov. 4.
Miller sponsored a bill that would make all VA employees at-will and lengthen probationary periods, both of which would increase retaliation and discrimination against employees including whistleblowers at the VA. His bill, H.R. 1994, passed the House in July, but its related bill in the Senate, S. 1082 sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, was blocked when he sought to expedite passage of the bill. Miller and other elected officials who support this retaliation bill vowed to resume the fight.
Congress has refused to fully fund the VA for years, resulting in severe understaffing especially doctors and nurses, and insufficient resources including facilities to serve veterans. The push to meet certain goals without enough funding led to several problems, including the waitlist scandal.
And now instead of fully funding the VA, several elected officials are pushing to privatize most health care for veterans, which could lead to more out of pocket costs for these returning warriors.
The pro-privatization VA lawmakers also are blaming employees for pretty much everything, hence these two destructive bills. And they are doing this while more than 40,000 jobs are left unfilled at VA medical facilities across the country. How do they expect doctors and nurses to come work for the VA?
"The great majority of the VA employees who were taking care of me were veterans themselves. I felt like it was a slap in the face that these people could serve our country, and yet these politicians could take those rights away," said Gulf War veteran Eric Young. "Due process is the reason this country was founded, the reason it's great," "To take that away from the people who take care of the people who give us freedom is absolutely deplorable."