More Protection For VA Whistleblowers Could Be Vetoed In Controversial Bill

AP photo by Rogelio Solis

The House’s passage of a controversial bill on July 29 includes measures that both parties want, but due to the broad language of the bill, the president has threatened to veto it if the bill passes the Senate vote. The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability Act of 2015 has many enemies due to the additional power it gives to fire employees, but it also contains a provision that would protect whistleblowers within the VA against reprisal from supervisors.

“This would be the strongest law in the U.S. Code requiring accountability for bureaucratic bullies who retaliate,” said Tom Devine, the legal director for the nonprofit Government Accountability Project, a leading advocate for whistleblowers. “It puts whistleblowers on an unprecedented pedestal.”

President Donald Trump hands a pen to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie during a spending bill signing ceremony at VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Las Vegas. (Associated Press/Evan Vucci)

The Trump administration wants to shift billions of dollars from government-run veterans' hospitals to private health care providers. That's true even though earlier this year the administration vehemently denied it would privatize any part of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The privatization of essential government services is nothing new, of course. Over the years, countries have privatized dozens of services and activities that were once the sole domain of governments, such as the provision of electricity and water, road operations and prisons and even health care, with the ostensible aim of making them more efficient.

But before going down that road, the question needs to be asked whether privatizing essential human services such as those for military veterans serves the public interest. New research we recently published suggests that privatization may come at a social cost.

Read More Show Less
Jilmar Ramos-Gomez was a lance corporal in the Marines and received awards for service in Afghanistan. (Michigan ACLU)

KENT COUNTY, MI – The ACLU is demanding an investigation after a Grand Rapids-born U.S Marine combat veteran was held for possible deportation.

Read More Show Less

Ronald Reagan's dream of space-based lasers shielding the United States from ICBMs will not come to fruition in the near future, despite the Trump administration's focus on space.

Read More Show Less

The Coast Guard is officially shit outta luck for a paycheck thanks to the government shutdown, which means that zero coasties have been paid to create some of the amazing memes being shared as a way to vent their frustration.

Read More Show Less