House to vote on VA accountability bill

The House will consider legislation next week to give the Veterans Affairs secretary expanded authority to fire senior executives, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced Thursday.

Cantor said the measure was necessary in light of recent allegations that Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals across the country had tried to conceal veterans' long wait times for medical care.

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The bill, H.R. 4031, is sponsored by House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.). Under the measure, the VA secretary would be authorized to oust senior executives due to poor performance or transfer them to the civil service.

Cantor said the legislation would help hold the VA accountable in light of recent allegations.

"Problems under the VA health system have sadly spanned decades, but recent events are strikingly abusive and have had tragic results for our nation's heroes," Cantor said.

Cantor also called on President Obama to address the situation personally, beyond the White House review that is being conducted by top aide Rob Nabors.

"It's time for President Obama to apologize to our nation's veterans, explain what he is doing to immediately fix the situation, and ensure the best possible care for our veterans and support for their families going forward," Cantor said.

"Our nation’s veterans can’t wait on an internal White House staff review for this to be resolved," Cantor added.

Consideration of the VA bill will come the same week that the House debates the 2015 defense authorization legislation.