- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A top lawmaker introduced a bill Monday that would allow the VA secretary to order employees to repay bonuses if they were later found to have contributed to poor veteran care.

Rep. Jeff Miller, Florida Republican and chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said the new authority will give the secretary another tool to hold employees accountable.

“Ideally, VA employees and executives who collected bonuses under false pretenses should be subject to prosecution when warranted, but at a minimum their bonuses should be paid back in full,” Mr. Miller said in a statement.

The secretary’s decision to take back a bonus would be final and not subject to appeal, the bill said.

Congress made it easier to fire senior executive service employees and capped VA bonuses in legislation over the summer meant to fix the department after allegations surfaced that veterans died while waiting for care on secret lists. The lists made wait times appear shorter and helped executives secure large performance bonuses.

VA leaders who contributed to mismanagement were more likely to receive a bonus than to be punished, according to a release from Mr. Miller. The VA paid more than $380,000 to top employees at 38 hospitals currently under investigation for involvement in the wait time scandal.

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