April 14, 2016 11:27 AM

Objection to S.627 - VA Wait List Manipulation

Senator Ayotte asked unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to the consideration of Calendar #240, S.627 - VA Wait List Manipulations; that the Ayotte and Brown amendments be agreed to; the committee-reported substitute amendment, as amended, be agreed to; the bill, as amended, be passed; and the title amendment be agreed to.

Senator Cardin asked that the request be modified so that the Senate instead proceed to the consideration of Calendar #240, S.627 - VA Wait List Manipulations; that in lieu of the committee-reported substitute amendment and title amendment, that the Cardin substitute be agreed to; the bill, as amended, be passed; the Cardin title amendment be agreed to.

Senator Ayotte objected to the modification. Senator Cardin objected to the original request.

Unofficial Transcript:

  1. CARDIN: RESERVING THE RIGHT TO OBJECT, MR. PRESIDENT, I
AGREE WITH MUCH OF WHAT THE SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE HAS

SAID, AND THAT IS OUR VETERANS DESERVE TO HAVE THE HIGHEST

QUALITY CARE AT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION. THOSE EMPLOYEES AT

THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION THAT HAVE NOT CARRIED OUT THEIR

RESPONSIBILITIES SHOULD BE DISCIPLINED, AND WHEN THERE'S ASKED

FOR RESPONDINGS, THERE SHOULD BE CONSEQUENCES TO ADVERSE

FINDINGS. SO I AGREE WITH MUCH OF WHAT SHE'S SAID. LEAT BE

MINDFUL THAT THE OVERWHELMING NUMBER OF FEDERAL WORKERS,

INCLUDING THOSE AT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, ARE HARDWORKING

PUBLIC SERVANTS, ASKED TO DO MORE WITH LESS RESOURCES, THAT

HAVE BEEN THROUGH FREEZES, FURLOUGHS, GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWNS,

SEQUESTRATION, YOU NAME IT. I UNDERSTAND THAT THE VETERANS

ADMINISTRATION COMMITTEE IS CONSIDERING A MORE COMPREHENSIVE

LEGISLATION, AS THEY SHOULD. AS MY COLLEAGUE FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE

HAS MENTIONED, THIS DEALS WITH ONE ASPECT OF THOSE WHO HAVE

ADVERSE FINDINGS IN REGARDS TO THEIR ABILITY TO GET BONUSES OR

THE REPRIMAND ON THEIR RECORD.

HERE'S MY PROBLEM: IF YOU USE A U.C., A UNANIMOUS CONSENT

REQUEST, THERE IS NO OPPORTUNITY FOR AMENDMENT, NO OPPORTUNITY

FOR DEBATE. AND WHEN I FINISH MY COMMENTS, I'M GOING TO MAKE --

ASK THAT THE SENATOR AMEND HER UNANIMOUS CONSENT REQUEST TO

INCLUDE AN AMENDMENT THAT I WANT TO OFFER. LET ME EXPLAIN WHAT

IT DOES. YES, WE WANT TO HOLD THE EMPLOYEE ACCOUNTABLE, THOSE

WHO HAVE NOT CARRIED OUT THEIR PUBLIC TRUST IN WHICH THERE ARE

ADVERSE FINDINGS. BUT THERE ALSO HAS TO BE ACCOUNTABILITY FOR

THE SUPERVISORS, FOR THOSE WHO SHOULD BE MANAGING THE AGENCY SO

THAT YOU DON'T HAVE EMPLOYEES DOING WHAT THEY DID. MANAGERS

NEED TO HAVE TOOLS. THEY KNEAD TO BE ABLE TO MANAGE THEIR

EMPLOYEES. THEY NEED TO BE ABLE TO DETERMINE HOW THEIR

EMPLOYEES ARE HANDLED IF WE'RE GOING TO HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.

AND IRPT TO HOLD THE SUPERVISORS ACCOUNTABLE. SO MY AMENDMENT

WOULD ALLOW THE SUPERVISORS TO DETERMINE THE LENGTH OF THE

SUSPENSION OF BONUS THAT THE INDIVIDUAL COULD RECEIVE. IT COULD

BE --

  1. CARDIN: I APPRECIATE THE PRESIDING OFFICER. THANK YOU VERY
MUCH. I THOUGHT I WAS GETTING AGREEMENT FROM OVER HERE. IT

COULD BE LONGER THAN FIVE YEARS, WHICH IS THE BILL THAT THE

SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE HAS DONE. IT COULD BE LESS. BUT IT

WOULD BE THE MANAGER/SUPER ADVISOR WHO WOULD DETERMINE THE

LENGTH OF THE SUSPENSION AND THE TRITE RECEIVE THE BONUS. SO

THAT THE MANAGER HAS THE TOOLS IN ORDER TO MANAGE THE WORKFORCE

AND WE CAN HOLD THE SUSUPERVISOR ACCOUNTABLE. THE SECOND IS

SIMILAR, AS IT RELATES TO THE REPRIMAND BEING RE-TONED IN THE

RECORDS. ALLOW THE MANAGER TO HAVE THE DISCRETION AS TO THE

LENGTH OF TIME. THE BILL THAT THE SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE IS

RECOMMEND SOMETHING A FIVE-YEAR HARD PERIOD. DOESN'T GIVE THE

MANAGER THE ABILITY TO USE THESE TOOLS AS WAYS TO ADVANCE

SERVICE TO OUR VETERANS, AND THE BOTTOM LINE HERE IS SERVICE TO

OUR VETERANS. THAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE. THAT THEY GET THE SER

SERVICE THAT THEY DESERVE. SO, MR. PRESIDENT, I WOULD ASK THAT

THE SENATOR MODIFY HER REQUEST SO THAT THE SENATE PROCEED TO

THE IMMEDIATE CONSIDERATION OF CALENDAR NUMBER 240, S. 275,

THAT IN LIEU OF THE COMMITTEE-REPORTED SUBSTITUTE AND TITLE

AMOUNTS, THAT THE CARDIN SUBSTITUTE AMENDMENT, WHICH IS AT THE

DESK, BE AGREED TO, THAT THE BILL AS AMENDED BE READ A THIRD

TIME AND PASSED, THAT THE CARDIN TITLE AMENDMENT BE AGREED TO,

AND THAT THE MOTION TO RECONSIDER BE CONSIDERED MADE AND LAID

ON THE TABLE, WITH NO INTERVENING ACTION OR DEBATE. THAT WOULD

BE CARRY OUT THE MODIFICATIONS THAT I SAID, GIVING THE MANAGER

THE ABILITY TO IMPOSE EITHER SHORTER OR LONGER PERIOD OF TIME

THAN THE GENTLELADY'S AMENDMENT.