House passes Wenstrup bill to streamline VA staff recruiting, retention programs

Rep. Brad Wenstrup

The House approved legislation last week introduced by U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) to help retain top-notch employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by streamlining its staffing, recruitment and retention programs.

The legislation, H.R. 1367, passed the House in a bipartisan vote of 412 to 0. It would establish programs that help the VA to recruit and retain a strong workforce. It would also establish a recruiting database to alert potential employees to positions at the VA and create career advancement opportunities for current employees.

“The men and women who sacrifice so much to serve this country deserve the best care that our nation has to offer,” Wenstrup, the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health, said. “That is why the House of Representatives acted decisively (on Friday) to ensure our veterans are being treated by the highest quality medical professionals. The passage of this bill is a critical step in fulfilling our commitment to providing our country’s heroes with the care they have earned and deserve.”

The legislation cleared the House with support from U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Bill Flores (R-TX).

In addition to H.R. 1367, House Majority Whip Scalise voiced support for the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act, H.R. 1181, and the VA Accountability First Act, H.R. 1259, which were also approved on Friday.

Scalise said veterans deserve the highest quality of care when they return home, but the VA has “often failed to live up to that obligation.”

“Beyond eliminating bad VA employees, it’s also important that we are able to retain the many good ones that are instrumental in providing care to our veterans,” Scalise said. “Yet, the VA has struggled to maintain a strong workforce, with the number of VA employees resigning or retiring each year rising since 2009. The House’s action will bolster recruiting programs and practices to ensure the VA is attracting the top doctors and personnel so our veterans can start receiving the level of care they deserve.”

Flores also voiced support for the veterans’ bills following House passage on Friday.

“Our veterans have given much to provide for the security of our nation and our families,” Flores said. “Their service and sacrifice should always be honored and defended.”

Aside from passing legislation to require greater accountability from VA employees, “We also passed legislation to expand access to quality care by improving the VA’s ability to recruit and retain high-quality health care providers and professionals,” Flores said. “With passage of these bills, we are taking much-needed steps to change the culture and capabilities at the VA.”