The Honorable Joan M. Mooney was nominated by President Obama to serve as Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Legislative Affairs (OCLA) at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on June 23, 2009, confirmed by the United States Senate on August 7, 2009 and sworn in by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on August 10, 2009.
As Assistant Secretary, Mooney has been the principal advisor to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on the Department's legislative agenda. She created and managed Department-wide policies, plans, and operations related to all congressional and legislative matters affecting the Department of Veterans Affairs. Mooney was also responsible for conducting VA's Congressional relations activities, representing VA programs, policies, and legislative agenda to Congress and advocating for increasing budgets from $94 billion in Fiscal Year 2009 to $164 billion for Fiscal Year 2015.
During Mooney's tenure, the Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs led the Department in hundreds of Congressional hearings before a dozen Committees, prepared the Department for each Government Accountability Office review, presented thousands of briefings, and responded to over 100,000 Congressional requests for information. Mooney served on VA's Executive Leadership Board and other governance bodies; Department of Defense-VA Joint Executive Committee which recommended to the Secretaries strategic direction for the joint coordination and sharing efforts between and within the Departments; and the interagency Senior Oversight Committee (DoD-VA-Health and Human Services-Department of Labor), which addressed issues associated with care and services for returning service members.
Mooney shared family caregiver responsibilities for her Father, an atomic Veteran stationed in the Marshall Islands during nuclear testing, who suffered from a service-connected cancer.
In over two decades of leadership experience in working with Congress, Mooney headed up the Washington office of Congressman Terry Bruce of Illinois and served as chief of staff to Congressman John Cox of Illinois. She has specialized in health care legislation throughout her tenure on Capitol Hill. As a Washington representative of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Mooney developed policies affecting the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs on manpower, health care and research.
From 1997 to 2009, Mooney served as chief of staff to Congresswoman Darlene Hooley, Ranking member of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee's Oversight and Investigations panel, Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, and Budget Committees. As chronicled in David Wood's 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning series "Beyond the Battlefield," when Congress met three days after 9/11 in a five hour debate to vote on giving the President authority to respond to the terrorist attacks, Congresswoman Hooley was the sole member who "took time to observe that war would create a new generation of wounded veterans who would need lifetime care, and that Congress ought to agree to pay those bills before sending young Americans into battle."
Mooney is a 1986 graduate of George Mason University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in government and politics.