House panel OKs advance funding for VA

By Rick Maze – Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Jun 10, 2009 16:17:03 EDT 

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee approved eight bills Wednesday, including landmark legislation to provide funding for veterans health care programs one year in advance — an effort to avoid disruption if Congress fails to complete its work on time, as it usually does.

The committee also approved bills that would:

• Revise rules for proving combat-related disability claims, making it easier for women and support troops to be approved for benefits and health care.

• Expand health care for women veterans.

• Improve opportunities for vocational rehabilitation, work-study programs, and internships and on-the-job training programs.

• Order VA to compile a complete list of scholarships available to veterans and survivors.

Approval of HR 1016, the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009, came on a 21-0 vote that masks an undercurrent of controversy and the possibility that an amendment to the bill —approved on a 17-8 vote — might derail the whole package.


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