During Barack Obama’s presidency, the Veterans Affairs (VA) went into complete shambles, as the former president made it clear that he had no respect for veterans. In the year since he took office, however, Donald Trump has been undoing all the damage Obama did to the VA by completely revamping it.
The Daily Caller reported that Trump just said that his administration has fired over 1,500 VA employees, but insiders believe this number is actually much higher.
“Last year, Congress also passed, and I signed, the landmark VA Accountability Act. 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,” Trump said during his State of the Union address this week.
Around 1,700 VA employees have actually been fired since Trump signed a VA reform bill into law. The VA press office said that the agency has fired 1,737 people, with 1,046 regular removals and 691 probationary removals, since President Trump signed the bill into law in June 2017.
“Probationary removals take place during an employee’s probationary period. Regular removals take place outside of the probationary period. Both are permanent removals,” said VA press secretary Curt Cashou.
“The department is tackling head-on issues that have lingered for years, including accountability, whistleblower protection, improving transparency and customer service for Veterans and expanding suicide prevention and mental health care services,” said VA Secretary David Shulkin.
Trump has made helping veterans a cornerstone of his presidency from the very beginning. Last month, Trump signed an executive order expanding mental health care services for veterans transitioning out of military service, who are at greater risk of suicide. This legislation will automatically enroll veterans who leave military service on March 9 or later for a full range of mental health coverage as the administration grapples with about 20 veterans per day who take their own lives.
Trump explained that the plan will include “concrete actions we must take to ensure every single veteran who needs mental health and suicide prevention services will receive them immediately upon the separation from military service.”
“They get out of the military and have nobody to talk to, nobody to speak to,” the president said. “And that’s been a very sad situation, but we are taking care of them.”
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