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Posted at 09:50 AM on Monday, February 8, 2010 by post6296WASHINGTON - The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is applauding President Obama for submitting a fiscal year 2011 budget that strengthens defense and national security, and boosts programs for veterans, servicemembers and their families.
Thomas J. Tradewell Sr., a combat-wounded Vietnam veteran from Sussex, Wis., said the president's vision tracks with key VFW legislative goals that advocate for a strong and secure America, and for ensuring that those who serve in uniform are properly cared for by a grateful nation.
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The $60.3 billion discretionary funding request for the Department of Veterans Affairs is 7 percent above 2010 and 20 percent above 2009 funding levels. Key initiatives are to hire 4,000 additional adjudicators to shrink the disability claims backlog; to reduce the homeless veterans' population; to construct new medical facilities in Denver and New Orleans; and to maintain a robust information technology program that will enable a 21st century VA to fully automate its GI Bill benefits system and create a seamless electronic record for military members entering the VA system. Other notable recommendations would enhance women veterans' programs; increase specialized care for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury and other mental health conditions; and expand the national cemetery system into areas where 80,000 veterans reside within 75 miles of a potential VA cemetery. Also included for the first time was a request for $50.6 billion in advanced appropriations for the VA's fiscal 2012 budget.