— Veterans Affairs revealed on Wednesday several hundred
employee firings that had not been publicly reported.
revised tally matches comments made by President Donald Trump
of the Union address.Trump said more
than 1,500 VA employees had been fired since he signed new
accountability legislation last summer.
Times on Tuesday night reported that Trump had exaggerated
that number, citing VA’s own statistics on its website. On
Wednesday, the VA said Trump’s figure included about 700
probationary dismissals not previously publicly reported.
his address to Congress on Tuesday, Trump listed several
veterans policy accomplishments among his administration’s
most notable work of the past year. That included sweeping new
rules for thehiring
and firing of VA workers, which Republicans on Capitol
Hill had sought for several years.
year, the Congress passed, and I signed, the landmark VA
Accountability Act,” Trump told lawmakers at the event. “Since
its passage, my administration has already removed more than
1,500 VA employees who failed to give our veterans the care
they deserve, and we are hiring talented people who love our
vets as much as we do.”
officials have publicly posted all employee firing, demotion
and suspension data online since last July. Those reports
showed 1,046 worker removals since mid-June, after the new
legislation was signed.
on Wednesday, following questions about Trump’s speech
assertions, VA spokesman Curt Cashour said the firing total
should include 691 probationary dismissals not previously made
public by the department.
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those new firings would bring the total number of VA workers
fired since the bill’s signing to more than 1,700 individuals.
accountability reports posted weekly on the department’s
website do not include any information about firings of
workers during their initial probationary period. Cashour said
starting Thursday, those dismissals will also be included in
the weekly report updates.
the interest of transparency and to provide the most accurate
picture of VA’s total firings, we have decided to include them
in our public tally going forward,” he said.
officials have touted transparency as a key to department
reforms throughout the last year, and said listing of employee
firings would help inform broader debate about accountability
and cultural changes at VA.