House Committee Passes Historic Legislation to End Delays in Veterans Health Care Funding

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 10, 2009—The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) applauds today’s passage of the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act by the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. This vital legislation would authorize Congress to approve health care appropriations for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) one year in advance of the start of each fiscal year, effectively ending the funding delays that have plagued the VA when Congress has failed to pass an appropriations bill on time.  “After many years of failed attempts to end delays in funding for veterans health care, we are encouraged that this legislation continues to move forward in Congress with the House committee’s vote today,” said DAV National Commander Raymond E. Dempsey. “Thanks to the leadership of Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, sufficient, timely and predictable funding for veterans health care is one step closer to becoming a reality. We look forward to Congress passing this legislation which will provide VA administrators and directors ample time to properly plan how best to use VA funds without adding a single dollar to the federal deficit.”   The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act (S. 423 / H.R. 1016) was introduced by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Filner, chairmen of the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committees, in February and was unanimously approved by the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in May. In addition to the bi-partisan support of 48 Senators and 117 House members, President Obama has expressed his support for advance appropriations for VA health care.  Enactment of the legislation would allow Congress to decide how much money to allocate to veterans health care one year ahead of when the actual dollars would be provided. This mechanism, called advance appropriations, would provide a predictable funding process for the VA, which has received its budget late 19 of the last 22 years. The legislation also would add needed transparency to the process by having the Government Accountability Office review and report on the reliability of VA’s health care budget request.


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