Mattoon, Illinois – At stops in Harrisburg, Mt. Vernon, Effingham and Mattoon Wednesday, Congressman John Shimkus recounted efforts in Congress to improve veterans’ access to care and make the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) more accountable. “I always tell folks that I know veterans who swear by the VA and others who swear at the VA,” said Shimkus. “The reality is that no government-run health care system is going to be perfect, but those who served our country deserve the best care we can provide. That’s why today I wanted to highlight some of the things we’ve done recently in Congress to make the VA more accountable, and to expand access to care and job opportunities for our nation’s heroes.” In the past year, the House of Representatives passed legislation to give the Secretary of the VA authority to fire any VA employee for poor performance or misconduct; to require records of reprimand be part of VA employees’ permanent records; and to allow the VA to recoup any bonuses paid to any VA employee. None of those bills passed the Senate, and one faces a veto threat from President Obama.