Posted : Monday Jun 22, 2009 16:50:14 EDT
Advance funding of the veterans medical budget — the top legislative priority for veterans groups — will take two leaps forward this week in the House of Representatives. First, the House is expected to vote Tuesday to authorize a change in budget rules so the medical care budget for the Veterans Affairs Department will be approved a year in advance of the rest of the federal budget — a move designed to prevent disruption if Congress doesn’t approve the annual VA budget on time. In this case, “if” is a near certainty; in 19 of the last 22 years, Congress has failed to pass a funding bill for VA by the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year. Second, and equally important, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee also is expected to vote Tuesday to approve the first advanced budget. Health care funding for fiscal 2011 will be included in the 2010 veterans appropriations bill that the committee is scheduled to pass.