9th District Congressman Doug Collins spoke favorably Tuesday of the passage of the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017.
“America owes its freedom to the men and women who fight to protect it," said the Gainesville Republican in a statement released to local media. "These selfless veterans deserve outstanding service from the VA, and, sadly, too many egregious exceptions to this standard have come to light."
The bill, which is part of an effort to fix a struggling agency serving millions of veterans, comes after a 2014 scandal at the Phoenix VA medical center, where some veterans died while waiting months for appointments.
The legislation passed the House by a vote of 368-55, and will lower the burden of proof to fire VA employees, allowing a dismissal even if most evidence is in a worker's favor. It was passed by the Senate last week.
"The VA Accountability Act helps ensure that veterans receive high-quality, efficient health care and access to services by holding VA employees accountable for their actions," the Congressman continued. “This bill will prioritize veterans over politics, protect individuals who expose abuses in the VA system and highlight the faithful work that many VA employees are doing."
Collins also thanked Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson for his "tireless" work in moving the bill through the Senate, and said he looked forward to the bill arriving to the president's desk for final approval.
"It’s an honor to vote in favor of this legislation."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.