H.R. 1181, the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, guarantees that our nation’s veterans are not denied their constitutional rights. Currently the information of an individual who is appointed fiduciary advisor by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is sent along to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Under this system, those veterans who do not manager their own benefits are denied their second amendment rights. H.R. 1181 prohibits the VA from sharing this information with NICS. This bill takes mental capacity determinations out of the hands of government bureaucrats, and ensures due process rights.
It is worth noting that under the Gun Control Act of 1968, it is already illegal for anyone “who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution” to purchase a firearm. New York State requires that mental health facilities licensed by the state provide information on individuals who are legally prohibited from buying firearms. Additionally, under current state law, all private firearm sales and transfers in New York require a background check of the buyer. H.R. 1181 changes none of these underlying laws. I voted in support of this bill, which passed the House with bipartisan support.
H.R. 1259, the VA Accountability First Act of 2017, provides care for our veterans by enabling the Secretary of Veterans Affairs with the necessary authority to expeditiously demote or terminate any VA employees for performance or misconduct issues. Since the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act (VACAA) was signed into law in 2014 instances of mismanagement or misconduct by VA employees have continued to plague the veteran community. Additionally, a recent GAO study found that it takes an average of six to twelve months to remove a permanent employee of the federal government.
This bill included important whistleblowers protections to prevent any potential VA retaliation. I voted in support of this bill, which passed with bipartisan support.
A 2016 Best Places to Work survey ranked the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) second to last for large agencies overall and second to last in effective leadership. H.R. 1367 improves the authority of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to hire and retain physicians and other employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The bill establishes staffing, recruitment, and retention programs aimed at bringing in the best VA employees possible.
I voted in support of this important legislation, which the House passed unanimously.