160 results for tag: Big Government


VA wants to meet with whistleblowers, help protect against retaliation

Authorities at the Department of Veterans Affairs, in an effort to protect those who speak up about potential corruption, have requested a meeting with two whistleblowers to discuss blowback the men faced as a result of sounding the alarm on the department. The Daily Signal has the details: Whistleblowers Kuauhtemoc Rodriguez from the Phoenix VA and Sean Higgins from the Memphis VA have been contacted by the Central Whistleblower Office for a conference call meeting Friday, which comes just over a week after President Donald Trump signed an executive order creating a new Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection at the VA, The Daily ...

Report: More than 345 VA employees draw federal salary even when they’re not working for the fed

About 346 Department of Veterans Affairs employees spend their working hours not in service to the federal government but in service to their union — all this while still receiving a federal salary — a widespread practice known as "official time," according to a new report. The Washington Examiner has the story: That's according to a report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. But exactly what those VA workers are doing and why so many are doing it is not clear. The VA doesn't track that, and the GAO report offers no clue. Rep. Jody Arrington, R-Texas, a member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, thinks the ...

Pruitt ends taxpayer-paid gym memberships for EPA employees

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt this week on “Fox & Friends” announced his agency will no longer underwrite employee gym memberships – this after it came to light the agency under President Obama paid nearly $15,000 for 24-Hour Fitness membership packages. The Washington Examiner has the details: "Well, the gym memberships ended yesterday, it was quite something to hear about that," Pruitt said. He said the agency is investigating the matter, saying "it was the previous administration that granted those gym memberships," which "were rather expensive." "It was something that needed to end." The gym ...

D.C. Veterans Affairs medical director fired after IG findings released

The D.C. VA medical director has been fired after an inspector-general report released Wednesday alleged facility employees were creating “unnecessary risk” for patients by not properly cleaning medical equipment. Stars & Stripes has the story: Quickly after the report came out, VA officials relieved the Washington hospital’s medical director and named an interim director, Charles Faselis. VA Inspector General Michael Missal released the findings, though the investigation began only late last month and is ongoing – a move that is unusual for the office. It states that 18 of 25 sterile storage areas for medical supplies were dirty, ...

White House budget director solicits feedback from the American people on ways to streamline government

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is requesting feedback from everyday Americans like you and me on ways to cut bureaucratic red tape that makes life more difficult for businesses, organizations, families – you name it. “Over the course of the next six months, all the federal agencies will be coming up with ideas that they think will make those agencies better. We will be doing the same thing here at OMB, but we need your help,” Mulvaney says in a video posted to the White House YouTube account. The budget director pointed to five stacks of federal regulations apparently taller than him and said they were written – ...

Longtime VA official has paltry excuse for approving $10 million price tag for 25 parking spots

The Department of Veterans Affairs still needs a major overhaul, as officials signed off on a $10 million bill for a mere 25 parking spaces when 600 were needed – and one of top official’s response was to say he wasn’t in charge of the approval. The Daily Signal has the details: Federal officials took six years to plan a new parking lot for a Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in West Virginia that would cost $10 million for only 25 parking spaces, as their solution for a 600-spot shortage. Then, when outside auditors pulled the plug on the fiasco, the hospital’s top official—who had previously served as the facility’s chief of ...

New VA secretary says he will ‘deal with’ troublesome employees

Former Veterans Affairs Undersecretary Dr. David J. Shulkin last week was the first of President Donald J. Trump’s cabinet nominees to receive unanimous confirmation – he will head Veterans Affairs and says he will “deal with” those in the department who underperform, a point on which he apparently clashed with former VA Secretary Bob McDonald. The Military Times has the story: “When you have one or two or three people who really aren’t doing their job, they bring everybody down,” he said during an appearance with Fox News host Pete Hegseth, taped Sunday. “And so the very best thing I know from my private sector experience is ...

Wife of wounded warrior meets with President Trump, proposes ‘real solutions’ for VA

Tiffany Smiley, wife of an injured Iraq-war veteran, Tuesday met with President Donald J. Trump to share her and her husband’s experience navigating Veterans Affairs and to give her own suggestions on ways to improve the floundering department. “Today I had the absolute honor of sharing our story with President Donald J. Trump. I was able to explain the difficult journey we had with the VA and propose practical and real solutions to bring change to the broken VA system,” Ms. Smiley says in a recent Facebook post. West Point graduate and Army Ranger Lt. Scotty Smiley – “the Army’s first blind active-duty officer, according to Milita...

Rep. Labrador: ‘I went to Washington for public service, not a career’

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) introduced a constitutional amendment that would cap the number of terms a representative is allowed to serve in the U.S. House at six – for a maximum of 12 years of congressional service – and a maximum of two six-year terms for senators. The Daily Signal has Rep. Labrador’s commentary: We must seize the moment and put a term limits amendment before the states for ratification… Despite 2010’s call for restoration of constitutional principles and restraint of a wasteful government, Americans got more of the same. The Washington establishment hunkered down, put off tough votes, and increased the federal ...

Policy expert: Issues at Veterans Affairs ‘not a money problem’

Policy expert: Issues at Veterans Affairs ‘not a money problem' The seemingly endless stream of scandals pouring out of President Obama’s Veterans Affairs department — a recent one being the secret quality rating system applied to the different VA medical facilities — isn’t a lack of financial resources but a personnel problem that needs to be addressed head-on by the new administration, policy expert Betsy McCaughey says in a recent column. The New York Post has the commentary: It’s not a money problem. Congress appropriated a record $163 billion to the VA in 2016, more than the department requested. The real problem is a lack ...