August 1, 2008, Washington, DC – A coalition representing millions of America’s veterans today expressed outrage at a White House claim that Congress is overspending on veterans programs and has threatened to veto any of the remaining 11 spending bills that exceed the President’s request unless Congress finds $2.9 billion in offsets elsewhere in the federal budget.
Under the fiscal year 2009 Military Construction-VA Appropriations bill, the Department of Veterans Affairs would receive $47.7 billion, which is $4.6 billion above the 2008 funding level and $2.9 billion more than the President requested.
As the House of Representatives prepared to debate the measure, the four Independent Budget veterans service organizations told Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi that they “vigorously defend the crucial increases in VA funding” which the Administration has underfunded in its budget requests for the past several years.
In their July 31 letter to Speaker Pelosi, AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Veterans of Foreign Wars said, “This budget, a budget that intends to bind the wounds of war and to care for those who have worn the nation’s uniform, should never be used as a political lever to force policies of one branch (of government) on the other.”
It is vital for Congress to provide funding necessary to meet the health care needs of veterans and to do so in a timely manner. Unfortunately, continued delays in VA funding demonstrate that reform is needed to the current funding process to make veterans health care sufficient, timely and predictable.
A complete analysis of the President’s budget and assessment of VA’s funding needs is included in The Independent Budget, which provides a roadmap for Congress and the Administration to ensure that veterans’ needs are fully and properly met. To view or download a copy of this year’s The Independent Budget, please visit www.independentbudget.org.
AMVETS — a leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s Armed Forces — provides not only support for veterans and the active military in procuring receipt of their earned entitlements, but also community services that enhance the quality of life for this nation’s citizens. ( www.amvets.org)
The 1.4 million-member Disabled American Veterans, a nonprofit organization founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932, is dedicated to one, single purpose: building better lives for our nation’s disabled veterans and their families. ( www.dav.org)
The Paralyzed Veterans of America, a veterans service organization chartered by Congress, has for more than 61 years served the needs of its members, all of whom have catastrophic paralysis caused by spinal cord injury or disease. ( www.pva.org)