Wednesday, July 23, 2008

VA: $94 billion for 2009 and still $3.3 billion short

Vet care spending is at record level

By Gregg Zoroya - USA Today
Posted : Wednesday Jul 23, 2008 12:38:35 EDT

The federal government is spending more money on veterans than at any time in modern history, surpassing the tidal wave of spending following World War II and the demilitarizing of millions of troops.

Expenditures hit $82 billion in 2007 because of the rising cost of health care, the expense of caring for an aging population of mostly Vietnam veterans and a new crop of severely wounded troops from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That exceeds the $80 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars spent in 1947 after most of the 16.1 million Americans serving in World War II left the service, according to a Congressional Research Service report submitted to Congress last month.

An 11 percent hike in spending is slated for this fiscal year to $91 billion and the Veterans Affairs Department has proposed $94 billion for 2009. And still more is needed, said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who is seeking another $3.3 billion for the 2009 budget proposal.

“While we are spending more than in previous years, we are still not meeting many of the health care and benefits needs of our veterans,” Murray said.

Last month’s passage of a new GI Bill will add $100 billion in education benefits for veterans over the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office said.

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain and his Democratic opponent Sen. Barack Obama clashed over the bill last month.
McCain opposed it, saying its increased education benefits might encourage troops to leave the military.

Obama backed the bill, saying it would boost the number of people interested in serving.
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One more case of McCain being wrong and then trying to take credit for what was done. He was wrong to not support it. He was also wrong on the reason he did not support it.

Obama was right to support it and right on the reason given to support it.

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