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Trump Signs Bill Opening VA To More Investigations
President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed legislation allowing for more and faster investigations of Department of Veterans Affairs facilities by permitting nongovernment groups to inspect them.
The bill, titled the Enhancing Veteran Care Act, would allow regional VA officials to enter into contracts with accredited nonprofits to identify and report deficiencies at VA hospitals. It’s the latest move this year in a larger effort by the VA and Congress to bring accountability to VA workers.
“Unfortunately, the VA hasn’t always met the standard of health care that our veterans deserve,” Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., one of the bill sponsors, said in a written statement. “The Enhancing Veteran Care Act will help ensure our veterans receive quality care by giving senior officials at the VA regional level the tools to hold people accountable.”
The VA Inspector General’s Office and the Government Accountability Office are already tasked with investigating VA facilities. But Inhofe and other congressional lawmakers criticized those organizations for the slow pace of their investigations and delays in the VA following up on their recommendations.
In a statement, Inhofe asserted reports from VA inspector general investigations “have not matched the reality on the ground.” He said the new law will be a tool for medical center directors and other local VA officials.
“The directors have the best perspective of what is going on at their facilities,” Inhofe said.
Before entering into a contract, regional VA officials must notify their supervisors in Washington, the VA inspector general and the Government Accountability Office, the bill states. Nonprofits chosen by the VA must be qualified to assess and accredit medical facilities.
The legislation had bipartisan support. It passed the Senate in November with unanimous consent, and the House approved it earlier this month with a vote of 423-0.
In April, Congress passed another bipartisan bill with the purpose of bringing accountability to the VA.
The VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 speeds up the process that the VA uses to discipline, suspend and terminate poor-performing workers and created an accountability office within the agency’s Washington headquarters.
©2017 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Police arrest suspected terrorist for 1985 hijacking in which Navy diver Robert D. Stethem was murdered
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have arrested a 65-year-old Lebanese man suspected of involvement in the 1985 hijacking of a Trans World Airlines (TWA) plane in which a U.S. navy diver was killed.
A Greek police official said on Saturday the suspect had disembarked from a cruise ship on the island of Mykonos on Thursday and that his name came up as being wanted by German authorities.
The last time the world saw Marine veteran Austin Tice, he had been taken prisoner by armed men. It was unclear whether his captors were jihadists or allies of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad who were disguised as Islamic radicals.
Blindfolded and nearly out of breath, Tice spoke in Arabic before breaking into English:"Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus."
That was from a video posted on YouTube on Sept. 26, 2012, several weeks after Tice went missing near Damascus, Syria, while working as a freelance journalist for McClatchy and the Washington Post.
Now that Tice has been held in captivity for more than seven years, reporters who have regular access to President Donald Trump need to start asking him how he is going to bring Tice home.
SAN DIEGO — John Timothy Earnest didn't hide his smirks as he sat in a San Diego courtroom on Thursday, watching surveillance video of Lori Gilbert-Kaye being shot down inside the lobby of a Poway synagogue.
Earnest also smiled as a synagogue congregant testified about running toward the shooter, screaming "I'm going to kill you!" and seeing the gunman "with a look of astonishment or fear" turn and run.
Earnest, 20, is facing one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder in the shootings at Chabad of Poway on April 27. He also faces an arson charge related to an Escondido mosque fire in March, when several people who were sleeping inside escaped unharmed.
Sometimes a joke just doesn't work.
For example, the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service tweeted and subsequently deleted a Gilbert Gottfried-esque misfire about the "Storm Area 51" movement.
On Friday DVIDSHUB tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: "The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today."
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey is ready to act on its southern border with Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said, after warning that it could take unilateral steps if the U.S. does not establish a "safe zone" in northeast Syria this month.
"Our preparations along our borders are complete," Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul on Saturday before departing to attend a U.N. General Assembly meeting.