H.R. 1259: VA Accountability First Act of 2017

This was a vote to pass H.R. 1259 in the House.

H.R. 1259 would institute necessary reforms at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by providing the Secretary with the authority to expeditiously remove, demote, or suspend any VA employee, including Senior Executive Service (SES) employees, for performance or misconduct.  . H.R. 1259 would also: provide improved protections for whistleblowers; allow the Secretary to reduce an employee’s federal pension if he or she is convicted of a felony that influenced his or her job at VA; recoup a bonus provided to an employee who engaged in misconduct or poor performance prior to receiving the bonus; and allow the Secretary to recoup any relocation expenses that were authorized for a VA employee only through the employee’s ill-gotten means, such as fraud waste, or malfeasance.

Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Authorize the VA Secretary to fire, demote, or suspend for longer than 14 days any VA employee, but excluding title 38 employees and political employees, for performance or misconduct.  An employee would be entitled to advanced written notice of the decision with an opportunity to respond and then the Secretary would be required to make a final decision after receiving the employee’s response, all of which must be completed within a total of fifteen business days; an expedited appeal to the administrative judge level at the  Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) who must render a decision within 45 days; an appeal  of the administrative judge’s decision to the full MSPB; and limited judicial review of the full MSPB’s decision by a Federal Circuit court.
  • Authorize the Secretary to reduce an employee’s pension if they are convicted of a felony that influenced their job performance. Prior to any reduction, the employee would be entitled to advance notice, an opportunity to respond to the order, and the opportunity for an appeal of the Secretary’s decision before the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Such appeal would have to be completed within 30 days of filing.
  • Provide the Secretary with the authority to recoup any bonus or award paid to any VA employee if the Secretary determines that the individual engaged in misconduct or poor performance prior to the payment of the award or bonus, and that the bonus or award would not have been issued to the employee had their misconduct or poor performance been known prior to the payment.  Prior to any recoupment, the employee would be entitled to advance notice, an opportunity to respond to the order, and the opportunity for an appeal of the Secretary’s decision before another agency or department within the Federal government. Such appeal would have to be completed within 30 days of filing.
  • Provide the Secretary with the authority to recoup any relocation expenses paid to any VA employee if the Secretary determines that the employee committed an act of fraud, waste, or malfeasance that influenced the authorization of the relocation expenses. Prior to any recoupment, the employee would be entitled to advance notice, an opportunity to respond to the order, and the opportunity for an appeal of the Secretary’s decision before another agency or department within the Federal government. Such appeal would have to be completed within 30 days of filing.
  • Enhance protections for whistleblowers by aligning the current procedures in place for disciplining an employee who retaliates against a VA whistleblower with the procedures authorized by this bill and by specifically barring the VA Secretary from using this removal authority if the employee has an open whistleblower complaint/case with the Office of Special Counsel or a complaint/case set up by the new whistleblower process that passed as part of the ‘‘Continuing Appropriations and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, and Zika Response and Preparedness Act’’ (P.L. 114-223). .
  • Authorize the Secretary to directly appoint individuals to the positions of Medical Center Director and Director of Veterans Integrated Service Network if they have a demonstrated ability in the medical profession, health care administration, or health care fiscal management.
  • Change the current disciplinary process timelines for title 38 employees at the VA (physicians, dentists, podiatrists, chiropractors, optometrists, registered nurses, physician assistants, and expanded-function dental auxiliaries) to align with the disciplinary timelines for other VA employees.

Source: Republican Policy Committee



Congress
115th Congress
Date
Mar 16, 2017
Chamber
House
Number
#168
Question:
On Passage of the Bill in the House
Result:
Passed

Key: R Aye D Aye R No D No
Seat position based on our ideology score.
This is a cartogram. Each hexagon represents one congressional district.
Totals     Republican     Democrat
  Aye 237
 
 
55%
227 10
  No 178
 
 
41%
3 175
Not Voting 14
 
 
3%
6 8
Required: Simple Majority source: house.gov

Vote Details

Notes: The Speaker’s Vote? “Aye” or “Yea”?
Download as CSV

Statistically Notable Votes

Statistically notable votes are the votes that are most surprising, or least predictable, given how other members of each voter’s party voted and other factors.

All Votes