Tester leads efforts to strengthen accountability and oversight at the VA

Senator’s efforts follow news reports that the VA compromised personal information of Montana veterans

(U.S. Senate) – Senator Jon Tester is leading the fight to strengthen accountability and increase oversight at the VA by pushing for the confirmation of a permanent VA Inspector General.

Tester introduced VA Inspector General nominee Michael J. Missal this morning during a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing. Following Tester’s introduction, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee confirmed Missal’s nomination where it will now go to the Senate floor for a final vote.

The VA has been without a permanent Inspector General for over two years.

“It is clear that the VA needs to operate in a more transparent manner and folks need to be held accountable when they do not do right by veterans,” Tester said during the hearing. “We can’t afford to allow systemic failures to continue – failures that deny or delay care for veterans or compromise their well-being. We need increased accountability and we need it now.”

Missal’s confirmation comes one day after MTN news reported that in 2010 the VA lost documents containing the private information of 171 veterans, including 44 Montana veterans.

Last year Tester sent letters to President Obama, Senate committee chairs, and the VA Secretary demanding they move urgently with the nomination and confirmation of a permanent VA Inspector General. In November, Tester personally met with Missal and voiced his support of his nomination during a Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing.

The VA Inspector General is tasked with providing independent oversight at the VA through audits and recommendations to improve transparency and ensure that taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely.

In December, Tester secured increased protections for VA whistleblowers who report issues that are blocking veterans from seeking timely care.