WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, heard testimony from Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki and representatives from veterans groups on next year's budget for veterans' programs at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Secretary Shinseki laid out a broad vision on how he plans to improve quality while expanding care and benefits to veterans and their families.
"The President's proposed funding increase would significantly strengthen the support we as a Nation give those who serve in the Armed Forces. I support the President's plans to open VA health care to more veterans, combat homelessness, and target issues particularly related to those who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, such as traumatic brain injury, PTSD, care for female veterans, and employment issues. I look forward to seeing a more detailed budget proposal in the coming weeks," said Akaka.
Secretary Shinseki testified on the President's budget outline, which proposes to increase VA's budget by over $5 billion in order to make improvements that include expanding health care eligibility for veterans with modest incomes, enhancing outreach to veterans with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder, strengthening efforts to prevent homelessness, relying more on technology to improve the timeliness and increase the accuracy of claims adjudication, and implementing the new GI Bill benefit passed by Congress last year. While Shinseki testified that the full VA budget proposal will not be finalized until late April, the Administration's summary is available here.
March 10, 2009