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Friday, February 24, 2006

House Reps, Dems Demand More for VA than Bush Budgets

Not nearly enough, but it's good to see the Congress demanding more funds be provided for the Veterans Administration (VA) than the President's 2007 budget would wish to give.

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

From the the Navy Times:

The Republican chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee is asking for an extra $1.9 billion in the 2007 budget. He also is rejecting the Bush administration’s call to increase prescription drug co-payments and establish enrollment fees for veterans receiving care from the VA.

Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., is asking for the money on top of $80.2 billion the Bush administration already requested for the 2007 budget. It would cover unmet expenses in medical programs and cemetery administration. Included in the extra money is $600 million to pay for improvements in GI Bill educational benefits, according to a statement provided by his staff.

Buyer’s lack of support for the proposed increase in prescription drug co-payments and creation of a new $250 enrollment fee for Priority 7 and 8 veterans, which are those with moderate incomes and without service-connected disabilities, makes it unlikely Congress would approve the Bush administration plans. Not doing the increase requires an almost $800 million increase in the budget request. ...

Democrats on the veterans’ committee agree the VA is underfunded, but they are asking for far more. In a separate request, they are asking the budget committee for a $6.8 billion increase in the Bush budget request for the Department of Veterans Affairs. This includes $3.6 billion for health care and $2.3 billion for new benefits.

Most of that latter increase would be for a large educational benefits package, aides said.

We are a nation at war. And proper and realistic funding for the VA is a moral imperative. The President's 2007 budget proposal falls far short of meeting the commitment we have to our troops. Let's contact our elected officials and ask them to support our veterans returning from combat.

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