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US House Passes Bill To Arbitrarily Fire Workers At The VA, Bypassing The Union’s Due Process

Yesterday, in a largely party line vote of 237-178, the U.S. House passed, “H.R.1259 – VA Accountability First Act of 2017.” A bill that would allow the Secretary of the VA to arbitrarily fire workers without any due process. HR 1259 was written and sponsored by Tennessee Republican, Rep David Roe (R-TN-1) who also cosponsored legislation to revoke the Department of Labor’s new rule mandating employers keep records on all workplace injuries.

The Hill explains:

The bill would give the VA secretary expedited removal authority, meaning any employee fired by the secretary would be out of a job and off the department’s rolls that day.

…One point of conflict in the legislation was the elimination of the union grievance process available to represented employees as a means to appeal negative personnel actions. About 76 percent of VA’s workforce is represented by a union, and Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee and author of the accountability bill, has complained the grievance process takes an average of 350 days to complete. The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 230,000 VA employees, called the legislation ‘a union-busting bill, plain and simple.

…A spokeswoman for Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said the senator is still “exploring options” for a bill that can pass the Senate. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has introduced companion legislation for Roe’s House-backed measure. Isakson himself said he is committed to working with his House colleagues and Democrats on his committee to move accountability legislation forward.

“I’m committed to moving legislation that gives Secretary Shulkin the tools to discipline bad employees,” Isakson said. “Accountability reform is a top priority.” The senator authored bipartisan legislation in the last Congress to expedite the firing process at VA, but it stalled in the Senate after clearing his committee.

This bill is designed to bypass the American Federation of Government Employees grievance procedures and weaken the union’s ability to represent workers.  David Cox Sr., National President of AFGE released the following after the bill passed the House.

“The House has passed a venomous piece of legislation from Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee that would undermine the government’s sacred obligation to serve our veterans by gutting frontline employees’ basic worker rights at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“Make no mistake – this legislation is not about improving accountability at the VA, and it certainly won’t improve veterans’ access to quality care and earned benefits. This is part of an orchestrated attack on the rights of federal workers and employee unions that’s ripped from the playbook of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

“While we are deterred by the House’s action, we are not defeated. We will fight this bill when it goes before the Senate, and we will continue to make the case to lawmakers and the public that attacking the rights of working-class men and women at the VA and across government is counterproductive to our shared goal of providing the best service to the American taxpayers.”

The AFl-CIO was also displeased with the passage of this legislation calling it a “slap in the face” to the workers at the VA.

“Yesterday, instead of standing up for working families, 10 Democrats in Congress joined with Republicans in attacking workers at the VA. Their support of this anti-worker legislation is not only a slap in the face to the 120,000 VA employees who are themselves veterans, but a betrayal of the promise to treat all VA workers fairly,” said Bill Samuel, AFL-CIO Director of Government Affairs. 

Everyone agrees that the VA needs help.  They are understaffed, overloaded, and underfunded, but the ability to arbitrarily fire hard working people at the VA will do nothing to solve any of these problems.

The reforms Congress should be looking for would include ones like the amendment submitted by Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH01) to improve VA hiring of mental health professionals.

Congress must also accept that additional resources are necessary to hire more doctors and nurses at VA health centers and to reduce the delays many veterans face in getting the care they need.  This would include spending money to merge the DOD’s and the VA health records system.

Another major issue facing the VA is that 20 veterans commit suicide every day.  Many of these vets are suffering from PTSD and are unable to get the care they need. NH Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH-1), a member of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, is working with the newly appointed Secretary of Veterans Affairs, David Shulkin, to address this ongoing epidemic.

“The men and women who have served our nation in uniform cannot be cast aside once they have returned home,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “The suicide rate among veterans is a tragedy and it’s long past time we came together to address this challenge.”

“The president and I have made it clear that suicide prevention is one of our top priorities,” Secretary Shulkin said in a statement. “We know the rate of death by suicide among Veterans who do not use VA care is increasing at a greater rate than Veterans who use VA care. This is a national emergency that requires bold action. We must and we will do all that we can to help former service members who may be at risk. When we say even one Veteran suicide is one too many, we mean it.”

So while 20 veterans a day commit suicide and the thousands that die every year awaiting care should be the top priority of the President and Congress, but instead they are choosing to attack the very workers who are trying to help fix this broken system and get care to those who desperately need it.

AFGE: Trump’s Governmentwide Review Must Include Billions in Wasteful Contractor Spending

Government spends twice as much on service contractors as on civilian workforce

WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s executive order calling for a top-to-bottom review of the executive branch:

“The federal government has two workforces: civilian federal employees and contractors. The contractor workforce has grown massively over the past two decades. Each year, the government spends more than twice as much on service contractors as it does on its own workforce.

“It doesn’t take a Wharton MBA to figure out that getting a handle on what contractors are doing and what they are charging should be the first priority in any governmentwide review of operational efficiency. 

“Contractor pressure groups spend millions lobbying the Congress to make sure that the facts and figures surrounding the annual $450 billion spent on them each year remains hidden and unaccountable.

“We remain hopeful that the administration is serious about draining this wasteful swamp of politically connected contractors. They have insinuated themselves into every government agency, performing work at a cost to taxpayers that is often twice or three times higher than would be necessary if government employees were hired to do the jobs.

“The very best approach to rooting out government waste is to require agencies to finally comply with their legal requirements to inventory all of their service contracts. Only then can the government make sourcing decisions – whether to continue outsourcing or to bring work back in-house – that align with the public interest in cost-effectiveness and accountability.

“We also urge the administration to include front-line employees’ input in its review and analysis. Whether it is the VA nurse at the bedside of a wounded warrior, the Border Patrol agent securing our homeland, or the EPA scientist working to keep our air and water safe and clean, federal employees are eager to help make sure that every dollar spent produces the best possible outcome for our fellow citizens.”

Union-Busting House Bill Would Silence the Voice of Workers, AFGE Says

Bill would limit federal employees’ access to union representation

WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees strongly opposes legislation moving through the House that would limit an employee’s access to union representation and financially penalize employees who voluntarily serve as union representatives.

The Official Time Reform Act of 2017 would arbitrarily cap how much time union volunteers can spend per day on representational work, such as resolving workplace conflicts between employees and managers, or meeting with agency leaders to discuss workplace improvements. It also would create a financial disincentive for employees to volunteer as union representatives by cutting their retirement for any time spent on representational work above the arbitrary caps.

“This legislation is a blatant attempt to bust federal employee unions and silence the voice of workers in decisions that impact not only their jobs, but services the American people rely on,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.

The legislation targets federal employees’ use of official time, which is the system Congress established to ensure that all employees entitled to union representation receive it – regardless of whether they choose to join the union. Federal employees who volunteer as union representatives spend all or part of their work day on official time, where they work with employees and managers to resolve disputes, address issues of discrimination and retaliation, and effect improvements in the workplace that benefit all employees. Official time is official agency business.

“Federal managers and their employees are fully competent to negotiate the terms of official time, when it is needed, how much is needed, and where it should be used to address unique agency and workplace issues,” AFGE said in a letter to lawmakers.

“This legislation creates a form of micromanaging that will tie the hands of supervisors and agency officials when it comes to scheduling meetings, legal proceedings, and non-official time work for union representatives, ultimately discouraging the use of official time.”

Employees are allowed to use official time only to perform representational activities, such as setting procedures that protect employees from on-the-job injuries, enforcing protections from unlawful discrimination, providing workers with a voice in determining working conditions, and representing employees in grievances and disciplinary actions.

Union representatives are not allowed to use official time to conduct union-specific business such as organizing new members, holding internal union meetings, electing union officers, or engaging in partisan political activities.

AFGE Says VA Accountability Act ‘Does Nothing to Improve the VA’

AFGE slams new legislation in House and Senate for diminishing veteran care and silencing veteran advocates at the VA

WASHINGTON – New legislation introduced in the House and Senate this week has been met with fierce opposition by the union that represents 230,000 VA employees. The VA Accountability First Act of 2017 – H.R. 1259 introduced by Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee – and the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2017 – S. 493 introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida – pits VA officials and managers against frontline employees at the nation’s largest integrated health care system.

American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr., who served as a VA nurse for more than 20 years, immediately decried the proposed legislation, saying:

“Once again, some lawmakers have completely ignored the evidence that the VA provides veterans the best – and only – integrated healthcare system tailored entirely to their needs. Instead of hiring the more than 45,000 frontline caregivers are veterans desperately need, they’d rather spend their time sticking it to the people who serve veterans every day.”

In addition to the punitive measures that could be used against future whistleblowers at the VA, the VA Accountability First Acts destroy the right of every VA front line employee to use union grievance procedures to efficiently and fairly address proposed adverse actions. The egregious proposal would leave VA frontline employees – 120,000 of which are veterans themselves – with only a rushed management-run appeals process. Not only that, but all frontline employees and managers would be left with weaker rights to appeal to the Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) – their first chance at an independent review.

If enacted, the bills could inhibit the recruitment and retention of frontline workers who are already in dire need at the agency, which was noted in a signed letter from Cox to the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Chairman Roe and Ranking Member Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota.

“The VA Accountability First Act of 2017 is a union-busting bill – plain and simple. It will only advance the agenda of the Koch brothers, anti-union lawmakers, and private, for-profit corporations that would reap the benefits of a dismantled VA medical system. Backhanded efforts to eliminate employees’ workplace rights does nothing to improve the VA or veterans’ care. In fact, it leaves nation’s veterans without the advocates who are empowered to speak up on their behalf every day.

“Every lawmaker who is willing to put veterans and their country above politics should oppose this bill. Veterans and all Americans should be able to get the true story of what is happening at the VA, and if this bill passes it will only ensure that VA officials and managers can be shielded from public scrutiny.”

President Trump’s Federal Hiring Freeze Will Cost Taxpayers and Hurt Americans, AFGE Says

Executive Order slashing federal workforce will trigger increase in costly contractors

WASHINGTON – Donald Trump is backtracking on campaign pledges to create American jobs and cut wasteful government spending by issuing an executive order to freeze federal employee hiring across the country, which will result in more work being outsourced to more expensive contractors, the American Federation of Government Employees said today.

“President Trump’s action will disrupt government programs and services that benefit everyone and actually increase taxpayer costs by forcing agencies to hire more expensive contractors to do work that civilian government employees are already doing for far less,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.

More than 85 percent of federal employees live and work outside the nation’s capital, so a hiring freeze targeting civilian workers will be felt in cities and towns across the country.

The number of federal employees has been frozen at about 2 million for the past 50 years, since John F. Kennedy was president. Meanwhile the number of contractors employed by the government has grown to at least twice the number of full-time federal employees, and trillions of dollars have been wasted on service contracts and mismanaged weapons systems.

“Numerous studies have shown that contractors are two to three times more costly than each federal employee they replace,” Cox said. “President Trump’s federal hiring freeze will result in more government waste as agencies are forced to hire high-priced contractors to do the work that federal employees can and should be doing.”

President Trump’s executive order excludes employees working on national security and defense issues, which accounts for roughly two-thirds of the current federal workforce. That means the hiring freeze will disproportionately affect domestic agencies and programs, many of which have already endured severe budget cuts this decade.

“This hiring freeze will mean longer lines at Social Security offices, fewer workplace safety inspections, less oversight of environmental polluters, and greater risk to our nation’s food supply and clean water systems,” Cox said.

“All Americans should be outraged that President Trump is gutting federal programs and funneling their taxpayer dollars into the hands of less-regulated private companies who answer to their corporate shareholders and not the American people,” Cox said.

AFGE Applauds Obama Action Giving Federal Employees 2.1% Pay Raise in January

Move recognizes sacrifice of federal workers, maintains tradition of pay raise parity between military and civilians

WASHINGTON – The American Federation of Government Employees, the nation’s largest federal employee union, applauds President Obama’s decision to provide federal workers with a 2.1% pay raise in January.

afge-1“Federal employees certainly deserve this modest boost in their pay, following years of pay freezes and miniscule increases that have left them worse off today than they were at the start of the decade,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said. “This pay adjustment will help employees pay their bills, reduce their debts, and cover the everyday costs facing working-class Americans.”

No other group has sacrificed more than federal employees to help bring the country out of the Great Recession. Since 2010, federal employees have been forced to give up more than $182 billion in wages and benefits – which amounts to a $91,000 pay cut per employee. Federal employees earn 6.5 percent less today than they did at the start of the decade when adjusted for inflation.

“AFGE has been fighting for federal workers to be made whole after years of financial sacrifice, and this action is a step in the right direction,” Cox said. “I’m especially thankful for the lawmakers who urged President Obama to take this action and for our activists who kept the pressure on them.”

The Dec. 7 letter to Obama was signed by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin of Maryland, Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia, and Senator-elect Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. AFGE also thanks Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia for introducing legislation earlier this year supporting AFGE’s push for a 5.3% catch-up pay adjustment.

President Obama’s alternative pay plan, submitted to Congress on Dec. 8, also maintains the longstanding tradition of pay parity between the civil service and military. Congress approved a 2.1 percent pay raise for service members in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, and AFGE has been fighting since August for civilian workers to get the same increase.

President Cox said AFGE already is working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to introduce legislation in the next Congress that would provide employees with an even larger increase in 2018.

AFGE Applauds New Rule Lifting Barriers for Federal Job Applicants

New “ban the box” rule ensures applicants with past financial or legal troubles can compete fairly for federal jobs

WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. today issued the following statement in response to a final rule issued Thursday by the Office of Personnel Management revising when federal agencies request certain background information from federal job applicants:

“The American Federation of Government Employees supports the new regulation that allows job candidates to progress through the initial stages of the hiring process without having to reveal information about past financial difficulties or incarceration.

“We believe that individuals should compete for federal jobs based on whether they have the requisite skills to perform the duties of the job. Once a person has made restitution for past financial problems or served a sentence, he or she should have an opportunity to compete for federal jobs just like any other citizen.

“There is no question that access to a good, steady job is the best way to prevent recidivism. The opportunity to serve the public through federal employment should be available to all Americans who have the necessary skills, and this regulation will take us closer to that ideal.”

Federal Unions Vow To Continue Fighting For Workers After Trump’s Election Win

Millions of Americans are still reeling from the results of the Presidential election.  All but one of the federal unions endorsed Clinton in the Presidential election and are continuing their efforts in spite of the heartbreaking loss.

American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) members have been fighting the Republican controlled Congress and their attacks on federal workers.  AFGE has spoken out against cuts to the VA and repealing members right to due process.

AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. vowed to continue fighting for workers rights and the protection of government services.

“The American people have spoken and elected Donald Trump as the next president of the United States. As public servants, federal employees work for the American people and will continue to carry out the missions of their agencies under the Constitution and law.

“AFGE will continue to fight for workers’ rights and for the programs and services government employees deliver for the American people. That never changes no matter who sits in the White House.

“We ‎will work with the Trump administration on areas of common ground, as we have with every administration for generations. AFGE remains the leading advocate on behalf of the federal workforce and the incredible service provided to our nation by the dedicated civil servants we represent.”

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) have also been outspoken in their opposition to cuts in the federal budget that have forced employee furloughs and government shutdowns.

NATCA President Paul Rinaldi and Executive Vice President Trish Gilbert pledge to continue to work toward a stable funding system for the National Airspace System that would remove the threat of forced closures and provide the agency the ability needed to address critical staffing issues.

NATCA remains cautiously optimistic that they will be able to work with President-Elect Trump to continue their collaborative efforts within the FAA and the Department of Transportation.

“We congratulate President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence on their victory.”

“Our National Airspace System (NAS) is the world’s safest and most efficient. It provides 11.8 million jobs and creates $1.5 trillion in total economic activity, contributing over five percent to the United States Gross Domestic Product. We look forward to working with the new Administration to secure a stable, predictable funding stream for the NAS. This will be essential to protecting the system and the workforce that safeguards it, while also implementing modernization efforts and providing air travelers the safety and professionalism they deserve.”

“We also look forward to working with the new Administration to further advance the tremendously successful collaborative relationship we’ve built with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Transportation over the last eight years, which has yielded positive results for the American people.”

Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, though disappointed in the outcome of the election, accepts the decision of the American people.  The AFL-CIO will attempt to work with President-elect Trump on issues of trade and restoring American manufacturing.

Donald Trump has been elected president. America is a democratic nation, and the voters have spoken. The AFL-CIO accepts the outcome of this election, and offers our congratulations to President-elect Trump. More than anything, this election is an indictment of politics as usual.

For too long, the political elites have embraced economic policies that hold down wages, increase inequality, diminish opportunity and ship American jobs overseas. Voters in both the primary and general election have delivered a clear message: enough.

The President-elect made promises in this campaign—on trade, on restoring manufacturing, on reviving our communities. We will work to make many of those promises a reality.  If he is willing to work with us, consistent with our values, we are ready to work with him.

But make no mistake, we can never back down from our values. The presence of racism, misogyny, and anti-immigrant appeals caused damage in this campaign and we must all try to repair it with inclusion, decency and honesty.

As we move forward, the labor movement is committed to defending our American democracy. Ultimately, the fundamental duty of America’s President, symbolized by swearing to uphold our Constitution, is to protect and preserve our democracy and the institutions that make it real.  We hope to work with President Elect Trump to help him carry out this solemn responsibility. Regardless, America’s labor movement will protect our democracy and safeguard the most vulnerable among us. 

This election is a statement about our broken economic and political rules. Therefore, the work of the labor movement continues with fresh urgency. The change voters cried out for in this campaign can be found by standing together in unions. The election is over. But we are more committed than ever to helping working people win a voice on the job and in our democracy.

We will never stop striving to represent everyone, fighting for basic human dignity, expanding our diversity and growing our ranks to give working people a strong, united voice.

Working people are in for a bumpy ride over the next few years.  We must stay vigilant and continue to organize to fight back against whatever President-elect Trump and his Republican controlled Congress throws our way.

Social Security COLA Falls Short for Seniors

social securty 1Small cost-of-living increase triggers huge Medicare Part B premium hike for many retirees

American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. is calling on Congress to pass emergency legislation to prevent massive increases in Medicare Part B premiums for millions of retirees next year.

The government today announced a 0.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment for federal retirees and Social Security recipients. The COLA is based on the year-over-year change in the prices for goods and services purchased by hourly and clerical workers.

This small COLA has inadvertently triggered a massive increase in Medicare Part B premiums for the 30 percent of beneficiaries who do not currently receive Social Security benefits.

Premiums for Medicare Part B are expected to increase 23 percent next year, from $121 a month to $149 a month. A so-called “hold harmless” provision prevents Medicare Part B premiums from increasing by more than the dollar increase in an individual’s Social Security payment. But for the 16 million retirees who don’t receive Social Security, including 1.6 million federal retirees under the Civil Service Retirement System, the full increase must be paid unless Congress acts.

“Congress must act now to prevent a massive increase in Medicare Part B premiums for this group of retirees,” Cox said. “Although most seniors would be protected, this group will have to pay more solely because of the uniqueness of their pension system.”

Congress last year extended the hold harmless provision to cover all Medicare Part B beneficiaries when there is no cost-of-living adjustment. However, this provision does not apply when there is a small COLA, as there will be in 2017.

Even without the increase in Medicare Part B premiums, retirees will have to tighten their belts to account for next year’s miniscule cost-of-living adjustment. Retirees already are facing a 6.2% increase in their health insurance premiums next year.

“Prices for many items that seniors must purchase are rising faster than the overall inflation rate,” Cox said. “Forcing this group of retirees to shoulder such a huge cost burden will have a devastating impact on their already modest living standards.”

The Alliance for Retired Americans have been pushing to increase Social Security benefits and change the way cost of living is calculated.

“The Alliance for Retired Americans is deeply disappointed by the announcement today that there will be a miniscule 0.3% benefit increase for millions of Social Security beneficiaries in 2017,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “For the average retiree, that means just a $5.00 per month increase, not enough to keep up with the cost of their prescription medications. This follows a 0% COLA in 2016. Most retirees are going to continue to have a hard time paying for basic necessities.”

“That’s why Congress must expand earned Social Security benefits and change the formula used to calculate future COLAs to the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E).  The CPI-E would base the calculation on what seniors actually spend their money on. That list includes items such as health care and housing, which account for most retirees’ spending,” Fiesta added. 

The AFL-CIO was “disappointed” with this COLA announcement.

“A weak increase that amounts to a mere $5.00 more a month for the average retired worker is a disappointment for the millions who rely on Social Security to stay afloat during retirement,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “Protecting our seniors against inflation is one of the many obligations we have to retired Americans. The 2017 adjustment falls short of that goal because it fails to reflect seniors’ extraordinary expenses.”

 “The 2017 COLA not only fails to keep pace with seniors’ high health care and prescription drug costs, it also means millions of retirees, including many retired public employees, will be hit hard because the law fails to protect them against large Medicare Part B premium increases when inflation is low. State Medicaid budgets that cover Medicare premiums for low-income seniors similarly will be affected. We urge Congress to step in and limit the coming financial blow to thousands of vulnerable retirees and state budgets,” Trumka added.

VA Union President Condemns Commission on Care’s Report as ‘Anti-Veteran’

AFGE leader calls on Congress to invest in VA caregivers and facilities rather than costly, unprepared private providers  

AFGE National President J. David Cox, Sr.WASHINGTON – Ahead of the Commission on Care’s September 7th hearing before the House Veterans Affairs Committee, American Federation of Government Employees’ National President J. David Cox Sr. released the following statement:

“The American Federation of Government Employees condemns in the strongest possible terms, the horrendous, anti-veteran proposal put forward by the Commission on Care. Their recommendations would essentially destroy the veterans’ health care system, leaving millions of veterans without the integrated care they rely on. Veterans would suffer from a drastically reduced quality of care, higher costs, less access, and the system as a whole would become unaccountable to veterans and taxpayers. Instead it would place veterans’ care in the hands of executives with corporate backgrounds, leaving veterans without a voice.

If the Commission’s mission, as they state in their report, was to ‘provide eligible veterans prompt access to quality health care,’ they have achieved the opposite. The only result of these recommendations would be to fragment the most integrated health care approach in the nation, lower quality across the board by sending veterans to for-profit private providers, line the pockets of private hospital corporations, and hand over control of veterans’ healthcare to an out-of-touch, corporate-style board.

Veterans have overwhelmingly said they want to get their healthcare at the VA. It is the only system equipped to offer the veteran-centric healing they earned through their sacrifice. That’s why large and well-respected veterans service organizations like the American Legion and Disabled American Veterans oppose further privatization of the system, and why two of the Commissioners – Phillip Longman and Michael Blecker – have spoken out repeatedly against the Commission since the release of their final report.

The Commission was rigged from the beginning, and despite going on the record stating that the VA offered healthcare that was superior to what’s offered in the private sector, they’ve recommended a plan that will lead to the downfall of the system millions of veterans rely on. We cannot let that happen, and we hope that the American public will see the Commission’s report for what it truly is and instead listen to what our veterans want.

There are numerous studies and reports that prove time and again how the VA offers veterans the best health care option in the country. The RAND Corporation recently reported that the VA outperforms non-VA health care in preventative care, treatment, and outpatient care; and found that only 13 percent of mental health professionals in the private sector are even prepared to treat veterans. Additionally, the American Psychological Association found that “VA performance was superior to that of the private sector by more than 30 percent.” The VA is succeeding, and to continue that success we must invest in it, not undermine it with costly, fragmented care.

Veterans want the VA. They need the VA. We cannot let private interests dismantle that system in the name of corporate greed.”

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