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House passes bill to cut bonuses at Dept. of Veterans Affairs

The House voted Monday to approve a measure to slash bonuses for workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs by at least 14 percent, as the agency continues to face criticism over its backlog of disability claims.

The VA currently pays $400 million in bonuses to its workers each year, but the bill caps total annual bonus payments at $345 million through fiscal year 2018.

The Hill reports that a House Veterans Affairs Committee report on the legislation says lawmakers have grown frustrated with the VA for “maintaining an agency where a growing inventory of claims and poor workload management practices abound.”

The Washington Post reported in August that VA staffers have been reaping millions of dollars in bonuses despite a huge backlog of cases that has veterans waiting hundreds of days for compensation.

The report said that in 2011, more than two-thirds of claims processors received a total of $5.5 million in bonuses, as the backlog of claims swelled by 155 percent.

The VA is pushing to eliminate the backlog by 2015.