Trump signs 'historic' bill to transform VA

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"Our veterans have fulfilled their duty to our nation and now we must fulfill our duty to them", Trump said during a White House ceremony.

"I just want to say two very simple words: Thank you", Trump said to US veterans.

"As you all know all too well, for many years the government failed to keep its promises to our veterans. Today, we are finally changing those laws ... to make sure that the scandal of what we suffered so recently never, ever happens again".

The 2014 VA scandal stands out as one of the most egregious failures of providing our veterans with the care they deserve.

The signing is the latest step in an effort by the Trump administration to strengthen an agency that provides health care and other services to millions of military veterans.

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"Currently, for a variety of reasons, we are not ready to vote for this bill, but we are open to negotiation and obtaining more information before it is brought to the floor", Lee said in a joint statement with Sens. The new law also protects whistleblowers in the VA.

The American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal employee union, opposed the bill.

The measure passed the House by a 368-55 vote earlier this month.

The Veterans Affairs bill was backed by Shulkin, who had called the department's employee accountability process "clearly broken". It lowers the standard of evidence needed to fire employees.

The VA has been plagued for years by problems, including the 2014 scandal, where employees created secret lists to cover up delays in appointments. "It makes it just as easy to fire a good employee, an innocent employee, as it will be to fire a bad employee".

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Chairman Phil Roe, M.D.

Under the new law, protections for whistleblowers will be expanded and the VA will be prevented from dismissing an employee who has an open complaint against the department.

VA Secretary David Shulkin said during a May White House visit that the VA was "forced to take back an employee after they were convicted no more than three times for DWI and had served a 60 day jail sentence".

Trump signed the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, the most significant reform bill in the history of the department.

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