The Washington Post

House approves bill to limit bonuses for VA employees

The House this week approved legislation that to cut bonuses and performance awards for the Department of Veterans Affairs by nearly 13 percent annually.

The measure, which passed unanimously on Monday08, would limit the payouts to $345 million each year through 2018, whereas the agency spent about $395 million on such compensation last year, according to a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Department of Veterans Affairs (Charles Dharapak/AP) – Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters.

The provision was tacked on to the bottom of a bill that largely dealt with the VA’s protocol for informing applicants of claims decisions — requiring the agency to provide appeals forms along with denial notices — and protecting the benefits of veterans whose financial trustees are under investigation for wrongdoing.

VA bonuses have come under scrutiny this year while the agency has experienced increased turmoil.

The department in 2011 gave away more than $5.5 million in bonuses to its claims processors despite a ballooning claims backlog, according to a Washington Post report.  The pileup grew to 900,000 cases this year before the VA implemented a “surge” that included mandatory overtime for processors.

The VA also came under fire in a CBS report for awarding $63,000 in performance pay to one of its regional directors shortly after a probe determined that his VA medical centers failed to prevent a Legionnaire’s outbreak.

The measure that lawmakers approved on Monday would save the government about $310 million over the next five years, according to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office.

Rep. Dina Titus (D-Nev.) sponsored the legislation, joined by four Republicans and five other Democrats who co-sponsored it.

(Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the VA fell short of its goal for reducing a longstanding backlog problem, but that reference related to the Office of Personnel Management dealing with a separate backlog problem unrelated to the VA).

Follow Josh Hicks on TwitterFacebook, or Google+. Connect by e-mail at  josh.hicks@washpost.comVisit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics for more federal news. E-mail federalworker@washpost.com with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers Maryland politics and government. He previously anchored the Post’s Federal Eye blog, focusing on federal accountability and workforce issues.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The Democrats debated Thursday night. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Chris Cillizza on the Democratic debate...
On Clinton: She poked a series of holes in Sanders's health-care proposal and broadly cast him as someone who talks a big game but simply can't hope to achieve his goals.

On Sanders: If the challenge was to show that he could be a candidate for people other than those who already love him, he didn't make much progress toward that goal. But he did come across as more well-versed on foreign policy than in debates past.
The PBS debate in 3 minutes
Quoted
We are in vigorous agreement here.
Hillary Clinton, during the PBS Democratic debate, a night in which she and Sanders shared many of the same positions on issues
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the polls as he faces rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz heading into the S.C. GOP primary on Feb. 20.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
Fact Checker
Trump’s claim that his border wall would cost $8 billion
The billionaire's claim is highly dubious. Based on the costs of the Israeli security barrier (which is mostly fence) and the cost of the relatively simple fence already along the U.S.-Mexico border, an $8 billion price tag is simply not credible.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
Most Read

politics

federal-eye

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.