Trump to sign VA reform bill, making good on a campaign promise

"As you all know - all too well - for many years, the government failed to keep its promises to our veterans", Mr. Trump said, saying "we are just getting started" on major changes to the VA, one of his central campaign promises in 2016.

"Those entrusted with the sacred duty of serving our veterans will be held accountable for the care they provide", Mr. Trump said.

President Trump was expected to sign the bill into law this week and I am thankful for the leadership we've seen from the president and Secretary Shulkin as they've pushed tirelessly to bring wholesale reform to VA.

Trump says the law, which received support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, represents one of the biggest reforms to the VA in a generation or more.

Bennet said the bill "encourages managers and patients to address poor performance and misconduct of VA employees and grants more oversight of the department". It passed the Senate by a unanimous voice vote.

The bill also comes three years after several veterans died while waiting for care at the Phoenix VA hospital and other centers across the country as some VA employees covered up the lengthy wait times.

Prior to his current position, Shulkin served as an under secretary of Veterans Affairs in the Obama administration from 2015-2017.

The bill was backed by Shulkin, who had called the department's employee accountability process "clearly broken".

Coffman called the bill's passage in the House a "significant step in the right direction". The new law will lower the burden of proof to fire employees, allowing for dismissal even if most evidence is in a worker's favor.

The VA has been plagued for years by problems, including the 2014 scandal, where employees created secret lists to cover up delays in appointments. Critics say few employees are fired for malfeasance.

The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. I thank President Trump and Secretary Shulkin for their unwavering commitment to our nation's heroes, and it is an honor to stand with them on this historic day.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, called the bill signing "a significant step to reform the VA with a renewed objective and ability to serve our veterans".