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Politics & Government

Rothfus: No Bonuses At The VA Until The Sytem Is Fixed

Congressman Keith Rothfus (PA-12) is once again trying to crack down on bonuses being handed out to senior executives at the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

“The VA is still failing veterans in Pennsylvania and across the country,” Rothfus said. “VA senior executives need to take responsibility, fix the problems and do their jobs.”

Last Thursday, the House passed Rothfus’s amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act of 2016. (H.R. 2029) The amendment would suspend the bonuses until “the problems at the VA are fixed,” Rothfus said.

The Republican has introduced, and the House has passed, similar legislation in each of the last two years, but the Senate has twice rejected the addition.

“In fiscal year 2013 the VA shelled out some $2.8 million in bonuses solely to its executives,” Rothfus said.  “I’ve always maintained that taxpayer-funded bonuses to senior executives to an organization with this sort of abysmal performance record is ridiculous.”

H.R 2029 does much more than just provide funding to the VA.  It also covers capital expenses for the military. In total it provides $76.6 billion in discretionary funds. That is a 5.6 percent increase from the current budget, but less than what had been requested.

President Obama has said he will veto the measure if it lands on his desk because he thinks it does not contain enough money to fix the problems in the VA health care system. 

"The bill fails to fully fund critical priorities, including veterans' medical care and military and VA construction," said the administration through a written statement.

In a speech on the House floor, Rothfus complained of difficulties vets face in trying to get care, backlogs in claims appeals and what he calls “reckless wasteful spending.”

“As public servants these senior executive have a solemn obligation to ensure that veterans receive the respect, support and care that they have earned,” Rothfus said.