The Department of Veterans Affairs mistakenly paid senior career executives $9.7 million in bonuses earlier this month, and now oversight committees in Congress are demanding answers.
VA announced Friday that the erroneous payments to 170 senior executives at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., which were part of PACT Act incentives to foster critical skills at the department, would be rescinded.
Leaders of both the House and Senate veterans affairs committees are seeking information on how the error occurred. They wrote to VA Secretary Denis McDonough Wednesday, criticizing the VA for padding senior executives' paychecks instead of using the money to fill high-demand vacancies.
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“VA leadership managing the program clearly did not follow the intended procedures and guardrails that facilities in the field were required to follow,” the lawmakers wrote. “We expect a much higher level of due diligence, oversight, and planning at this executive level.”
The letter was sent by the chairmen and ranking Republicans on both committees — Reps. Mike Bost, R-Ill., and Mark Takano, D-Calif., along with Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Jerry Moran, R-Kan. — who questioned the use of the PACT Act hiring and retention program to pay the bonuses.
“Congress will pursue additional oversight and more aggressive safeguards on…