WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, participated in a joint hearing with the House Veterans' Affairs Committee today in which veterans groups spoke out against the Administration's proposal to cut $38 million from VA's Medical and Prosthetic research program.
In their testimony, leaders of Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) called attention to the importance of VA research, especially for veterans who are blinded, paralyzed, or amputees as a result of their military service. They also noted how important a thriving VA research program is to enabling VA to recruit and retain the best and brightest physicians.
"Improvements in battlefield medicine increase a wounded warrior's chances of returning home, but that servicemember also deserves the chance to lead a free and full life. Improvements to veterans' health care and rehabilitation are made possible through VA research. VA must have the resources to fully support this vital program," said Akaka.
Chairman Akaka strongly opposes the Administration's efforts to cut VA research, and has consistently pushed for increases to the program. In their views and estimates letter to the Senate Budget Committee, Chairman Akaka and the Majority Members of the Committee called for a $75 million increase to VA research. Congress provided the program with a $69 million increase in Fiscal Year 2008. Recent developments in VA research have included ways to improve the lives of veterans suffering from PTSD, protect the health of those with spinal cord injuries, and restore walking ability to amputees.
March 6, 2008