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Trump’s Signature on VA Accountability Bill Celebrated by Post-9/11 Veterans

NEW YORK, NY (June 23, 2017) — Today, President Donald Trump signed into law the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, a landmark law that gives the VA Secretary tools needed to hold bad actors accountable. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the leading voice for the post-9/11 generation of veterans, started fighting for VA accountability over three years ago, when the VA scandal in Phoenix first was exposed. Today, IAVA applauds the President for his signature on the bill and urges the VA Secretary to exercise his new authority as a part of his ongoing reform effort.

In June 2014, IAVA announced its Marshall Plan for Veterans, chief among this plan was a call “to swiftly pass legislation that would expand the VA secretary’s authority to fire or demote senior staff for poor performance.” 

“This is welcome news to veterans nationwide. Given that the scandal in Phoenix alerted the country to the outrageous state of the VA health care system nearly three years ago, this change is long overdue. IAVA applauds President Trump for signing this bill that will finally empower the VA to remove bad-acting employees. Our members especially want to thank Chairman Isakson and Ranking Member Tester for their leadership and bipartisanship. This signing shows what Congress can do when they put veterans ahead of politics and party. In a nasty, partisan environment like we’ve never seen, veterans issues can be a unique area for Washington to unite in actually getting things done for ordinary Americans,” IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff said. “IAVA and our members have fought relentlessly to give the VA Secretary the tools needed to address workforce accountability and save veterans’ lives. We are thrilled to see the President sign this bill into law.” 

Earlier this year, IAVA launched our historic She Who Borne The Battle campaign to ensure that women veterans get the recognition and services they deserve. According to data from VA, between 2005 to 2015, the number of women Veterans enrolled in VA health care increased 84 percent, from 397,024 to 729,989. Accountability is absolutely necessary to ensure that the growing population of women veterans get adequate care and services.

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.