"We do have some concerns that some provisions could result in significant litigation, which would divert valuable time and resources from VA's accountability efforts and its core mission of delivering quality services to our veterans."
If it works at VA
The significance of the House vote goes far beyond the VA. The VA's 313,000+ employees are governed by the same civil service regulations as the rest of the federal bureaucracy.
That means a management reform that applies to VA could just as easily be extended to every other federal department and independent agency.
In other words, the VA scandal is an opportunity for Congress to create a template for reforming the entire federal bureaucracy.
Carter's forgotten win
Here's why: President Carter's biggest domestic policy achievement was winning passage of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 that included several desperately needed changes in the federal bureaucracy.
The most important of those changes was creation of the Senior Executive Service, the highest level of career managers, and the Merit Pay program for federal middle managers.
Both the SES and Merit Pay managers were put under a Pay-for-Performance system and could be more easily disciplined, transferred or removed entirely from the civil service than before.
Refresh the reforms
In the years since, however, the Carter reforms were steadily undermined as the Clinton administration gave the employee unions significantly more power, the Bush administration ignored civil service issues and the Obama administration consolidated union power and privileges in the federal workplace.
Thus, it's no coincidence that, as the Washington Examiner's Mark Flatten documented earlier this year, thousands of federal employees do nothing but union work while drawing full salary and benefits on what is called "Official Time."
And it is anything but coincidental that the federal department with the most employees on Official Time is VA.
The question then is whether Congress and the president recognize that in fixing VA they can fix the rest of the federal bureaucracy as well.
On today's washingtonexaminer.com
Columnist/Timothy P. Carney: GOP committee chairman declares war on crony capitalism.
Columnist/David Freddoso: GOP can win by learning detente.
Columnist/Michael Barone: End crony capitalism, sell federal lands, limit tax breaks for the rich.
Columnist/Cal Thomas: Veterans Affairs scandal shows failure of government-run health care.
Beltway Confidential/Ashe Schow: Teacher survey shows growing concerns about Common Core.
PennAve/Brian Hughes: Why Obama's Veterans Affairs problems just got worse.
Legal Newsline/Heather Gvillo: Pennsylvania appellate judge rules exposure theories insufficient in asbestos case.
In other news
The Los Angeles Times: Boston bombers may have had help in building bombs.
The American Spectator: Why the VA scandal is good for the Left.
The Daily Caller: Rockefeller accuses Obamacare critics of racism.
Washington Free Beacon: Israeli Arab Christians joining Israel Defense Forces.
The Federalist: Millennials are right to be averse to the stock market.
The Nation: How to reclaim democracy from the corporations.
New Republic: Veterans Affairs scandal was decades in the making.
Washington Monthly: Meeting expectations.
Hot Air: Romney Republicanism is alive and well.
Talking Points Memo: Arkansas voters complain about quizzing by poll workers.