March 6, 2009

The Obama administration's proposed $55.9 billion budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2010 would add a half-million non-disabled veterans of moderate income to the agency’s health-care rolls within three years. The plan would enable the VA to continue providing care to lower-income and disabled veterans presently on its rolls without interruption, according to the Office of Management and Budget. Other key areas include expansion of mental health screening and treatment,improvement of electronic medical records, efficient retrieval of DoD medical records for veterans who apply to the VA for medical benefits, and sufficient funding to pay the costs associated with increased GI Bill education benefits. 

Senate Adopts Budget Resolution Supporting Advance Appropriations for VA Medical Care
Stand Up for Veterans Update
April 23, 2009
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Congress moved one step closer to ensuring timely, predictable funding for veterans health care with the adoption of the Senate budget resolution.  The Senate adopted a provision that supports the inclusion of advance appropriations for veterans medical care in the FY 2010 budget resolution on April 2.  Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and VA Committee Chair Dan Akaka (D-HI) offered the amendment, which was agreed to by Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) and approved without opposition.

President Obama Publicly Reaffirms Campaign Promise to Support Advance Appropriations for Veterans Health Care

President Obama publicly reaffirmed his support for advance appropriations for veterans health care, saying "the care our veterans receive should never be hindered by budget delays."  President Obama reiterated his commitment in an April 9 meeting attended by wounded soldiers, Secretaries Gates and Shinseki and leaders from veterans service organizations including the DAV. As a presidential candidate, Obama stated that his administration would "...recommend passage of advance appropriation legislation for the FY 2010 appropriations cycle, instead of yearly continuing resolutions that lead to delays in hiring and facility construction."  Obama also told VSO leaders in a private meeting that he was standing by this promise.

Seattle Times Op-Ed:  Ensure Timely, Best Care at VA Hospitals and Clinics

In a Seattle Times op-ed published last week, former Washington State VA hospital directors Joseph Manley and Timothy Williams call on Congress to "...take the politics out of veterans health care for good by ensuring sufficient, timely and predictable funding through advance appropriations." 

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Hearing to Discuss Advance Appropriations This Week

On April 22, the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs held a hearing to discuss pending veterans health-related legislation.  Included in the hearing will be discussions regarding the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009 (S. 423), legislation that would authorize advance appropriations for a veterans medical care programs. 

About the Stand Up for Veterans Initiative 
Stand Up for Veterans is an initiative of the Disabled American Veterans, an organization of 1.4 million disabled veterans who are focused on building better lives for disabled veterans and their families.  The initiative seeks to find public policy solutions for all veterans, particularly those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, who have incurred devastating injuries and disabilities, including traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological wounds of war.  Please visit to learn more about this effort.

Stand up for veterans.  They stood up for us. 

Press Release - Budget Plan Welcome News for Veterans
April 26 2009

Budget Plan Welcome News for Veterans

WASHINGTON, April 28-"The spending blueprint lawmakers are expected to ratify this week is good news for our nation's veterans," said Disabled American Veterans National Commander Raymond E. Dempsey. "Not only does it provide a record increase for the Department of Veterans Affairs, it clears the way for much-needed legislation to ensure sufficient, timely and predictable funding for veterans health care."

The House-Senate conference agreement provides $53.4 billion in appropriations for the VA, 11.7 percent above the 2009 level. In addition to a $5.6 billion increase for vital veterans programs, it would allow Congress to fund veterans medical care one year in advance. So, in addition to funding the VA's three medical care accounts in the fiscal year 2010 appropriations bill, Congress could also set the level of funding to become available at the start of the 2011 fiscal year.

Bipartisan legislation to provide advance appropriations for veterans health care, a top priority for the DAV, has been introduced in both the House and Senate. An important provision in the budget agreement removes a procedural barrier to its enactment

The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act (S. 423/H.R. 1016) would end funding delays that have plagued the VA when Congress has failed to pass appropriations bills on time. The legislation also would add needed transparency to the process as the Government Accountability Office would review and report on the VA's annual budget request.

            "This budget agreement signals that veterans are indeed a national priority" said Commander Dempsey. "And enacting the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act would ensure that veterans, particularly sick and disabled veterans, have access to quality and timely health care."

            The DAV and the eight other members of the Partnership for Veterans Health Care Budget Reform, along with a growing coalition of military and veterans groups, former VA officials and hospital directors, and an overwhelming majority of American voters, all support legislation to approve VA's health care funding one year in advance.

The Partnership for Veterans Health Care Budget Reform, which worked closely with the bill sponsors in drafting the legislation, is comprised of AMVETS, Blinded Veterans Association, Disabled American Veterans, Jewish War Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Paralyzed Veterans of America, The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Vietnam Veterans of America.

The 1.2 million-member Disabled American Veterans, a non-profit organization founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932, represents this nation's disabled veterans. It is dedicated to a single purpose: building better lives for our nation's disabled veterans and their families.