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House passes Tester's VA accountability act

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MISSOULA, Mont. - With an overwhelming vote of approval, Congress has cleared the way for a bill intended to remove bureaucratic obstructions to timely medical care for united states veterans.

The VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act is now one step away from becoming law.

Last week the United States Senate passed the bill with a unanimous vote. Tuesday the House of Representatives joined the Senate, approving the VA reforms on a vote of 368-55. The only thing lacking now is a signature from President Donald Trump.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana) is the ranking member on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. He spear-headed the Accountability Act along with Republican co-sponsors Johnny Isakson and Marco Rubio.

"This bill does right by veterans by cracking down on bad employees who jeopardize veterans' health care and protecting the hardworking folks who serve veterans," said Tester. "I'm pleased that the House of Representatives quickly passed our critical legislation to make sure that the VA can provide the best possible care and benefits for veterans, and I look forward to seeing the president sign it into law."

The bill is designed to protect whistleblowers and give VA Secretary David Shulkin the tools to fire bad or under-performing employees. The bill gives Congress more oversight on accountability, makes it easier for the VA to remove senior executives and increases accountability for all VA employees.

House Speaker Paul Ryan says the act will "ensure employees of the VA can be held accountable if they fail our great veterans."

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