House clears major Veterans Affairs reform bill, sends to White House

The bill passed on a bipartisan 368-55 vote.

It would also boost protections for whistleblowers that report wrongdoing, and create an office within the VA to support whistleblower protections.

“It’s common sense -– we need to hold our employees accountable for their actions if they violate the public trust, and at the same time protect whistleblowers from retaliation,” Secretary David Shulkin, who supported the bill, said in a statement.

Speaking on the House floor, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California), said the bill addresses the VA’s “culture of ambivalence” and “lack of accountability.”

“Fixing the culture at the VA requires us to acknowledge the great work of the many without leaving them tainted with the incompetence and scandal of the few," he said. "It requires removing the bad apples."

Rep. Tim Walz (D-Minnesota), the top Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said in a statement that the bill “will bring real, long-lasting accountability” to the VA “in a way that will stand up to constitutional muster.”

The Senate previously approved the bill on a unanimous voice vote.