Rep. Jolly: 'Accountability' has different meaning to Obama

Reaction to handling of VA scandal


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," June 19, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, to our nation's veterans again.

I want you to hear something from the acting secretary.


SLOAN GIBSON, ACTING U.S. SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS: What we have done on these personnel actions is everything the law allows us to do in order to remove a person from federal service.

Employees of the federal government, in the process of a personnel action, continue on the payroll of the federal government during the process of that -- of that action. So not a VA issue. It's what -- that's what the law is.


CAVUTO: Yes, he's right about that. I agree with that. I don't agree with the law, but I agree with what he said. His hands really are tied. He -- he really can't do squat. So, now I'm asking, what the heck is Congress doing in the meantime? You have the House and Senate. They have already passed measures that are meant to fix this. And so they sit waiting for reconciliation, the president to sign this. Time is a wasting.

To Republican Congressman David Jolly of Florida, who wants to give our veterans more choice right now.

Congressman, good to have you.

He is right about that, isn't he, Congressman? As much as he might want to change things, he can't fire people. He can't be handing out vouchers right now, so what do you say can and should be done now?

REP. DAVID JOLLY, R-FLA.: Well, you're exactly right, Neil.

And I appreciate you bringing that up. Listen, if you hear the president of the United States talk about this, he talks about accountability. He doesn't talk about terminations. He doesn't talk about firings. Accountability means something very different to the president of the United States than it does to the American people.

Sloan Gibson is doing a great job. We need to give him more power to terminate employees. But you mentioned choice. I just hosted over 300 people in my district office this week and asked them for the compliments and concerns about their VA care.

The bottom line I walked away with, veterans need choice in their health care, and they need to control that choice.


CAVUTO: When you say choice, does that include if when they're waiting or when they're waiting at the VA and it's going to be a long wait, they can get a piece of paper or something that allows them to hop across the street or to the next town to a private hospital or other hospital and get the care they need?

JOLLY: Well, that's right, except you mentioned getting a piece of paper. I don't think they should have to wait to get that piece of paper.

Right now, the law allows them to go outside of the VA system. But the VA has to approve it.

CAVUTO: That's right.

JOLLY: I say we put a choice card in every veteran's hands to say, you choose. You control your health care. If you want to go to the VA which most veterans like, go to the VA. But if you want to go outside of the system, here's your choice card. You go outside of the system.

CAVUTO: No, it's a great idea.

But, Congressman, what's the delay now in this reconciliation between what you guys passed in the House and what they passed in the Senate? I'm told that the sticking issue is this firing issue and how far we go.

JOLLY: That's right.

CAVUTO: It sounds incredible to me, but is that true?

JOLLY: Well, I say this respectfully. I think the Senate provision still protects more labor concerns that we see from the left.

I think the Republican bill...


CAVUTO: How about the veterans? How about their concerns?

JOLLY: That's exactly right. That's exactly right.


JOLLY: Veterans deserve choice and control of their own health care.

Listen, we passed a good bill. We need to do a lot more. I will tell you, it's not enough in this bill. This was an emergency bill.

CAVUTO: Got you.

JOLLY: Long-term reforms, we need to do more.

CAVUTO: Congressman, thank you very much. Good seeing you.

JOLLY: Thanks.


CAVUTO: Congressman David Jolly of Florida. All right.

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