WASHINGTON - The House has approved a bill to give the Veterans Affairs secretary more authority to fire or demote senior executives at the U.S. agency.
The bill responds to a growing furor over allegations of treatment delays and preventable deaths at VA hospitals. The department's inspector general says 26 facilities are being investigated nationwide, including a Phoenix hospital facing allegations that 40 people died while waiting for treatment.
Republican Rep. Jeff Miller said VA officials who have presided over mismanagement or negligence are more likely to receive bonuses or glowing performance reviews than any sort of punishment.
The bill was approved Wednesday, and now goes to the Senate.
The White House says it supports the goal of seeking greater accountability at the VA but has unspecified concerns about the legislation.
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