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Posted at 03:53 PM on Thursday, February 12, 2009 by post8192WASHINGTON (Feb. 12, 2009) -- The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is applauding the chairmen of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees for reintroducing advance funding legislation for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
"The VA has had to cope with far too many budgets that came too late to adequately meet the needs at hand," said Glen M. Gardner, Jr., a Vietnam veteran who leads the 2.2 million-member VFW and its Auxiliaries. "We applaud Senate VA Committee chairman Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) and House VA Committee chairman Bob Filner (D-Calif.) for reintroducing this legislation into the 111th Congress. It will greatly improve the quality of healthcare the VA provides for America's veterans."
The "Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009," which the two chairmen are scheduled to unveil at a Capitol Hill press conference today, will require Congress to approve a VA budget a full year ahead of time, instead of just for the upcoming fiscal year, as is the current practice.
The VA budget is one of 12 major spending packages that are on the congressional agenda every year, but despite being more than seven years into a war, the VA has only received one on-time budget in the past 12 years. Gardner calls this unacceptable, because late funding negatively impacts operations, and can lead to the reduction or elimination of vital programs, such as mental health and traumatic brain injury research and treatment, or recruitment programs for doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers.