WASHINGTON — The House passed a bill late Monday that would allow the Department of Veterans Affairs secretary to recoup bonuses from senior executives implicated in manipulating patient wait-time data last year and other wrongdoing.
The vote rekindles debate on Capitol Hill over accountability in the VA following the worst scandal in its history and moves the focus to the Senate, where a similar bill was introduced last year but failed to pass.
News that the senior federal executives were potentially paid more performance bonuses based on falsified data angered many lawmakers, including Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., who sponsored the bill. Last year, federal audits found that at least 70 percent of VA hospitals and clinics across the country doctored appointment records to mask veterans’ long waits for health care.
“No business in America would allow employees to not only stay at work but to hold on to bonuses while they cooked the books,” said Rep. Dan Benishek, D-Mich., who sits on the House Veterans Affairs Committee and voted for the bill.