Sunday, October 4, 2015

Congress Underfund the VA By Nearly $1 billion, Again

Look up how many times this has happened in the past.

"If they can afford to pay for wars, they can afford to pay for the treatment after the wars," says Garry Augustine, with Disabled American Veterans. DAV and other private veterans' organizations draw up their own "independent budget" for the Department of Veterans Affairs every year. "We've been saying it every year for the last 10 years in our independent budget, that the funding is not sufficient to sustain the demand," Augustine says.
Tester, Daines disagree on Veterans Affairs funding bill
Independent Record
October 02, 2015

MISSOULA -- Montana’s two U.S. senators criticized a proposed Veterans Affairs funding bill this week, with Republican Steve Daines accusing Democrats of blocking the bill, while Democrat Jon Tester said the measure would underfund the VA by nearly $1 billion.

While both senators have worked to improve VA care for Montana veterans and have introduced needed reforms to the system, they have differing views on funding the agency -- a debate that's tied in part to budget caps proposed by the GOP leadership.

Daines said the latest legislation includes a record $163.8 billion in funding for the VA. He said the figure marks an increase of $4.6 billion.

“This legislation contains numerous important provisions to address Montana veterans’ long-standing concerns and it would be shameful to see these much-needed reforms fall victim to Democrats’ obstructionism,” Daines said.

Tester, however, has urged his colleagues to oppose the VA funding bill, saying it underfunds veteran care by nearly $1 billion and would undermine VA reforms passed by Congress a year ago.

Earlier this year, Tester offered an amendment to increase funding for the VA to a level that better reflected what department officials said was needed to carry out veteran care.

His amendment failed on a 16-14 party-line vote, with all 16 Republicans voting against it.
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