WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. Tracey Mann recently introduced The Strengthening Whistleblower Protections Act. Mann, ranking member on the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and Chris Pappas, chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, introduced the bipartisan legislation back in July, with the goal of enhancing protections for whistleblowers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"Whistleblower claims must be taken seriously – especially regarding issues concerning our nation’s heroes,” Rep. Mann said. “As members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, we have a duty to address problems like a lack of structure and support for whistleblowers that could hinder veterans. This legislation will create checks and balances for offices managing whistleblower complaints – an effort that will simultaneously use taxpayer dollars more efficiently and protect whistleblowers. I appreciate Representative Pappas leading this bill with me. I was proud to see it pass through the Committee yesterday on a voice vote, and I look forward to its swift passage on the House Floor.”
Earlier this year, Reps. Mann and Mike Bost, ranking member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, introduced legislation that would require the VA’s Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection (OAWP) to refer all whistleblower allegations to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) – an independent federal investigative agency found to have higher trust in the whistleblower community than the OAWP.
Yesterday's legislation would not only require OAWP to refer whistleblower allegations to OSC, but would also require OAWP to track settlement negotiations and agreements between the VA’s Office of General Counsel and VA employees.