FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, February 12, 2016
Contact: Amanda Maddox, 202-224-7777
Lauren Gaydos, 202-224-9126
Isakson Talks Veterans’ Health Care, VA Accountability on C-SPAN Newsmakers
‘If a man or a woman in the United States of America… serves in harm’s way to protect each and every one of us, they deserve every benefit that we have promised to them’
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, will be featured on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” this Sunday, February 14, 2016 at 10:00 ET and 6:00 p.m. ET.
In light of the release of the president’s fiscal year 2017 budget proposal, Senator Isakson will discuss the proposed budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the importance of meeting the needs of veterans while also being responsible stewards of taxpayer money. He also talks about what the committee is doing to expand the Veterans’ Choice Program to further ensure that all veterans have access to timely and quality health care.
“If a man or a woman in the United States of America volunteers to serve in our Armed Services and serves in harm’s way to protect each and every one of us, they deserve every benefit that we have promised to them and one of those benefits is health care,” says Isakson in the interview. “We should not shortchange our veterans who risked their lives for us… We are going to continue to have increased demand [for health care], and increased demand is going to increase the amount of money we have to pay out. But the better the quality [of health care], the more timely the quality and the maximization of the private sector by using Choice will take pressure off the cost of the VA.”
Isakson also discusses efforts by the committee to ensure that leadership at the VA has the authority to hold bad actors at the agency accountable. Recently, the Merit Systems Protection Board overturned the VA’s disciplinary actions against three executives, proving that the VA is incapable of holding its employees accountable.
“We have to have the ability to hold employees accountable and we have to have the ability to reward employees when they’re doing a good job,” Isakson continues. “We want to make sure the secretary has the ability to discipline within the department, those that are disciplined have the ability to appeal but in a timely basis, and people can be held accountable… Those people who are doing well can be rewarded [and] those that are not can be terminated. I am working to make sure that is… a lasting medal of our committee in terms of what we accomplish this year.”
You can watch Senator Isakson’s interview online now, or live on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” on Sunday, February 14, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. ET and 6:00 p.m. ET.
The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the 114th Congress.
Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate VA Committee since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the military as well as more than 750,000 veterans.