SEA Releases Statement on Administration's Threat to Veto H.R. 1994

In response to the Administration's statement in opposition to H.R. 1994, SEA President Carol Bonosaro issued the following statement:

"While the Senior Executives Association opposes H.R. 1994 on many of the same grounds as the White House, we are amazed that this bill, which mirrors last year's Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, is only now causing alarm within the Administration. In fact, the 2014 Act is a more draconian version of H.R. 1994, yet the Administration had no issue then with whether the new legal removal authority and process affected the due process rights of career Senior Executives, who are not in any bargaining unit and therefore are not represented by unions.

Now, when the House proposes extending the same firing authority to unionized workers and the rest of the VA workforce, the Administration claims the new firing authority and appeal process interferes with due process. This is a far cry from the sentiments offered by the President when he signed the 2014 Act, calling it great new legal authority to deal with unethical career executives.

The Administration is also concerned that H.R. 1994 will create "a disparity in the treatment of one group of career civil servants." We must assume that refers, should the bill become law, to a disparity between the rights of federal employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs and the remainder of federal workers in all other federal agencies who will still have full pre and post removal due process and appeal rights. Clearly, there is already a disparity that was created when the 2014 statute passed whereby VA Senior Executives could be removed under the new draconian process but the rest of the workforce had the full set of pre and post removal process. Why did that disparity not matter to the Administration then?

Yet another disparity exists which the Administration does not speak to. H.R. 1994 would give non-SES career workers at the VA a 45 day appeal process at the MSPB, while the 2014 statute only gives Senior Executives a 21 day process at MSPB.

Finally, the same concerns about not being able to attract and retain top talent that the Administration voices about H.R. 1994 clearly apply to the 2014 statute affecting the career VA executive workforce. 

If the Administration believes that H.R. 1994 encroaches on the due process rights of career federal workers at the VA, then it should also seek the repeal of the 2014 statute that imposes a far more draconian process on the career executive VA workforce."

The Senior Executives Association (SEA) is a professional association representing Senior Executive Service members and other career federal executives. Founded in 1980, SEA's goals are: to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and productivity of the federal government; to advance the professionalism and advocate the interests of career federal executives; and to enhance public recognition of their contributions. The SEA Professional Development League (PDL) is a nonprofit educational organization committed to advancing the professionalism of career federal executives through the sponsorship of training, recognition, and research activities.