Amata takes part in VA bill floor debate
For the hotly contested floor debate on H.R. 1994, the VA Accountability Act, which split Members largely along party lines, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL), who managed the debate for the Majority, selected Amata as one of only eight speakers to speak in support of the measure during the half-hour allotted to the majority side.
When the smoke cleared, the GOP had prevailed with the passage of the bill by a vote of 256 – 170, including a number of Democrats joining the winning side. The measure will now move to the Senate for consideration.
“For too long, our veterans, including the large number I represent in American Samoa, have been subjected to improper treatment, long wait times and other serious matters that have yet to be addressed, said Amata. “This common sense legislation, of which I am proud to be a cosponsor, will enable the VA to hold those who do not perform their duties accountable, which will surely lead to better services for our veterans. No longer should our veterans come second to lifelong bureaucrats who have gamed the system while our veterans have suffered.”
The push for greater accountability measures began last year after shocking actions by VA employees were discovered, including falsifying wait times for veterans waiting to see a physician, which resulted in several deaths at the VA facility in Phoenix, which Amata visited in May to see what improvements had been made. Yet only two people have been held accountable so far, verifying the need for reform.
Further strengthening the case for real reform is the mismanagement of several high-profile VA construction projects that have cost the American taxpayer billions of dollars in just the past few years.
“I applaud my colleagues for stepping up today to address the troubling lack of accountability eroding VA’s ability to care for our veterans. The VA Accountability Act will provide the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs the ability to make real reforms and bring much needed accountability to the department. Today, we stand with our veterans because the status quo has failed them and the American people for far too long,” stated House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller.