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Congressman Ryan Costello

Representing the 6th District of Pennsylvania

Ensuring VA Accountability Act Passes the House of Representatives

May 19, 2015
Press Release
Legislation Authored by Congressman Costello Aims to Bring Much Needed Accountability and Transparency

Washington, D.C.  – Yesterday, legislation sponsored by Congressman Ryan Costello (R-PA), a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, unanimously passed the House of Representatives. Costello’s bill H.R. 1038: the Ensuring VA Accountability Act, would require all reprimands and admonishments to remain in a VA employee’s file as long as they are an employee of the Department, thus creating more accountability and transparency throughout an employee’s tenure at the VA. Under current policy of the VA’s tiered system of disciplinary actions for VA personnel, an “admonishment” can only remain in an employee’s file for two years, and a “reprimand” can only remain on an employee’s file for three years, after which they are permanently removed. This bill does not impose new employee penalties and would not affect existing processes for a VA employee to appeal a disciplinary action. This is Congressman Costello’s first bill to pass the House of Representatives.

“Part of the systemic problems with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs stem from the fact that current policy prevents the keeping of complete employee files and does not allow the at-fault employees to be tracked or held accountable,” said Congressman Ryan Costello. “It is critical to maintain a complete record of a poor performer in order to better understand an employee as long as they are with the Department. We must hold employees accountable for their actions and that is why I am proud to author this legislation. H.R. 1038 is a common sense measure that will ensure our veterans are receiving the best care possible, provided by responsible employees. The reports from recent Inspector General’s investigations prove that we must take measures that will ensure the VA maintains thorough, complete employee records in an effort to hold those who care for our veterans accountable for any continued pattern of misconduct.”

On Monday, House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller touted the veterans-related bills as “bipartisan work to improve the lives of veterans.” He continued, “I am especially proud lawmakers came together in support of Rep. Ryan Costello’s Ensuring VA Accountability Act, which would put an end to the department’s tired and ineffective practice of issuing temporary written warnings to employees in the face of serious instances of mismanagement and malfeasance. I applaud my House colleagues for supporting these important measures and I urge the Senate to pass them without delay.”

You can read the legislation here.

Congressman Costello spoke during the debate of H.R. 1038. You can watch his remarks here