On March 8, the House Veterans Affairs Committee sent three bills to the full House which The American Legion supports. They will be voted on later this week. Please take a moment to send the prepared e-mail to your legislators to seek their support for these bills.
H.R. 1181, the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act, introduced by Chairman Phil Roe, M.D., would prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from considering any beneficiary who is assisted by a fiduciary as "mentally defective" without a magistrate or judicial authority ruling that the beneficiary is a danger to themselves or others.
The American Legion has always been a stalwart defender of 2nd Amendment rights and believes it is wrong for veterans and beneficiaries who need help managing their financial affairs to lose their 2nd rights without due process. Veterans deserve the best mental healthcare available, but the threat of losing their 2nd Amendment rights is a disincentive to those who would benefit from treatment.
H.R. 1259, the VA Accountability First Act of 2017, introduced by Chairman Roe, would provide the VA Secretary increased flexibility to remove, demote, or suspend any VA employee, including Senior Executive Service employees, for performance or misconduct.
H.R. 1367, introduced by Rep. Wenstrup, would improve the authority of the VA Secretary “to hire and retain physicians and other employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.” It would establish a recruiting database to make high-quality potential employees aware of positions at VA and create opportunities for career training and advancement for current VA employees through fellowship positions and a promotional track for technical experts.
The American Legion also supports efforts to provide the VA secretary the authority to better manage all employees, and hold them accountable when they fail to perform their duties in a manner befitting of a federal servant. Just as essential are continued efforts to address the recruitment and retention challenges at VA. We’re pleased to see both of these bills move together because VA can’t fire its way to excellence, but must also be given the tools to hire and retain a workforce worthy of this nation’s veterans.
All Legionnaires, concerned citizens, veterans and their families are asked to contact their representatives and urge them to support this legislation.