06.06.17

Gardner Supports Legislation to Bring Greater Accountability to the VA

Washington, D.C. – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) today released the following statement after voting for the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017. This legislation makes it easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to discipline, including firing, employees who do not provide the proper care to our veterans and creates an office within the agency specifically designed to receive whistleblower tips.


“Our veterans have given everything for our country and they should always have access to the best possible care we can offer,” said Gardner. “The vast majority of VA employees are hardworking people that are committed to take care of our veterans with the respect they deserve. However, we have heard far too many stories about a few bad employees that have mistreated our heroes and provided inferior levels of care. This bipartisan legislation holds them accountable by allowing the Secretary the discretion to reprimand or remove bad employees from the VA, and provides another needed step in cleaning up the VA to ensure our veterans always have the highest levels of care available.”

 

During debate, Gardner offered an amendment that would allow the VA Secretary to reduce an individual’s pension for an act of gross negligence or mismanaging funds. An amendment such as this is necessary because it would have allowed the VA to reduce Glenn Haggstrom’s pension for his gross mismanagement of the Aurora VA hospital project.

 

Last Congress, Gardner led the effort for the completion of the VA Hospital in Aurora. In his first month in the Senate, he teamed up with fellow members of the Colorado delegation to introduce the Aurora VA Hospital Financing and Construction Reform Act of 2015, and much of the language Gardner authored was later included in legislation that provided funding to the Aurora hospital. He was also instrumental in pressing for the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to hold a field hearing in Colorado in April of 2015. In May, Gardner worked to garner support for the passage of a short-term funding bill that would allow construction to continue after the project ran out of money. In September of 2015, the project once again was threatened to be shut down in the face of cost overruns. Gardner again secured the funding required to complete the hospital by working with leadership in the House of Representatives and in the Senate.

 

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Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Budget Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy and Subcommittee on Energy.

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