WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) applauded President Barack Obama’s commitment to work with Congress on providing advance appropriations as set forward in his proposed budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“By allowing VA to plan ahead, taxpayer dollars will go further and veterans will receive better health care. I look forward to working with President Obama’s Administration to make the goal of on-time funding for veterans’ health care a reality,” said Akaka.
The Appendix to President Obama’s proposed Budget, released yesterday, includes projections on advance appropriations, as well as the statement that “the Administration plans to work with the Congress to develop a specific advance appropriation proposal for the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Care program.”
Earlier this year, Chairman Akaka sponsored the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009 (S. 423), which would provide timely and predictable funding for the veterans health care system. Currently, veterans’ health care is funded through a year-by-year appropriation, which has been late 19 of the past 22 years. VA operates the largest health care system in the nation, providing care for millions of wounded and indigent veterans.
S. 423 is cosponsored by a bipartisan group of over 40 Democratic, Republican, and Independent senators, and has the strong backing of many national veterans service organizations. President Obama expressed his support for advance funding for VA last month.
May 8, 2009