WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, spoke of the need for increased funding for veterans' programs at a Democratic press conference today on Capitol Hill. Speakers included Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Patty Murray (D-WA); Chairman Bob Filner of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX), and Jon Soltz of Votevets.org.
Chairman Akaka was joined by all of the speakers in calling for funding veterans' programs above and beyond the President's proposed budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Democrats are proposing a budget that rejects the Administration's proposed cuts to VA programs and higher fees for veterans seeking health care, and provides new funds for key areas like care for traumatic brain injury and mental health issues.
"Caring for our troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan - as well as those from previous wars - must be considered part of the ongoing cost of war," said Akaka. "I am pleased that this Budget Resolution contains $3.2 billion more than the President requested for VA."
Senator Akaka continued, "This increase means that VA can provide high quality mental health care to our troops who return home with invisible wounds like PTSD, as well as care for physical wounds such as amputations and traumatic brain injury." Chairman Akaka also added that the proposed Democratic budget would protect valuable VA research programs from being cut.
"The funding level provided in the Budget Resolution is a first step to ensuring that these men and women can get the care they need - men and women who have volunteered to protect our country," Chairman Akaka stated.
March 12, 2008