WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, released the following statement on President George W. Bush's decision to release $3.7 billion in contingency funding provided by Congress in the omnibus appropriations bill:
"I am pleased President Bush has released the full amount of funding for VA as approved by Congress in the omnibus appropriations bill. As the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan continue, we must recognize that care for those wounded in combat is part of the true cost of war.
"I have worked to secure additional funding for VA, beginning at the Committee's budget hearing early last year. The President's proposed budget would have under-funded VA at a time when they need to expand mental health care, improve treatment for traumatic brain injury, and reverse their staggering claims backlog. This could not be allowed to happen. After Congress provided additional contingency funds for VA in the omnibus appropriations, I sent a letter to the President as Chairman, along with the Majority members of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, urging him to release those funds. This is very good news for VA and for the veterans it serves and I am proud to have played a role in bringing about this result."
This year's funding boost to the Department of Veterans Affairs amounts to the largest increase in its history.
January 22, 2008