Amendment by Rep. Ken Buck to prevent ‘burrowing’ by VA political appointees passes voice vote
March 17, 2017
An amendment introduced by Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., that would make it harder for politically appointed personnel in the Department of Veterans Affairs to entrench themselves in the department's bureaucracy passed by a voice vote Friday.
"Political appointees in the VA have a duty to step down when their appointing president leaves, allowing new appointees and accomplished, life-long civil servants to continue the work of serving our nation's veterans," Buck, a Windsor Republican, said in a news release. "We cannot allow the very same Obama administration political appointees who so poorly managed the VA during their appointments to then burrow into the agency and continue their poor performance."
Buck's amendment comes to House Resolution 1367, a measure sponsored by Ohio Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup, which would make it easier to hire and retain physicians and other employees in the VA.
Buck also has introduced legislation — H.R. 1132 — that would prevent political appointees across the government from converting their positions into competitively selected civil service positions without going through the proper civil service hiring process first. This practice is commonly called "burrowing," and according to Office of Personnel Management data, at least 17 individuals from various executive agencies successfully burrowed between Sept. 1, 2015, and July 14, 2016, the release stated.