MILITARY

House votes to give VA more power to discipline employees

FILE - In this June 21, 2013, file photo, the seal a fixed to the front of the Department of Veterans Affairs building in Washington. The Republican-led House on March 16, 2017, has approved legislation to make it easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire, suspend or demote employees for poor performance or bad conduct, part of a renewed effort targeting VA accountability in the new Trump administration. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

FILE - In this June 21, 2013, file photo, the seal a fixed to the front of the Department of Veterans Affairs building in Washington. The Republican-led House on March 16, 2017, has approved legislation to make it easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire, suspend or demote employees for poor performance or bad conduct, part of a renewed effort targeting VA accountability in the new Trump administration. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)  (The Associated Press)

The Republican-led House has approved legislation to make it easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs to fire or demote employees for poor performance or bad conduct. It's part of a renewed GOP effort targeting VA accountability in the new Trump administration.

The bill passed 237-178. It would reduce the time workers have available under a union grievance process to appeal a disciplinary action.

The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Phil Roe of Tennessee, says the current grievance process could take up to 350 days to complete.

The bill has the support of VA Secretary David Shulkin and the White House. But Democrats and unions cast the measure as an attack on workers' rights, saying the House version is too aggressive and unfairly punishes rank and file employees.