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Administration's Budget Affirms Commitment to Veterans, say Coauthors of The Independent Budget
Date:2/4/2010

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The coauthors of The Independent Budget (IB)—AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Veterans of Foreign Wars who collectively represent millions of veterans—are applauding the Administration's recently released Budget Request for FY 2011. The budget request includes significant funding increases for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and benefits, and for the first time, advance appropriation recommendations for the VA FY 2012 budget.  

The Administration's budget announcement coincides with the publication of the 24th Edition of the IB, a full picture of veterans' health care and benefits needs and funding recommendations for VA, by veterans for veterans. The IB can be viewed at www.independentbudget.org.

The IB has always been an important road map for administrations and Congress. The coauthors are very pleased that the President's FY 2011 budget represents real continuing progress on delivering sufficient, timely and predictable funding for VA health care, a key goal of the IB over the years. This progress means that VA will get its health care funding on time and America's veterans are more likely to get quality medical treatment in a timely manner.

Released Monday, the President's budget for FY 2011 provides nearly $60.3 billion in discretionary funding for VA, almost $4.2 billion above the FY 2010 appropriated level.  

The President in his State of the Union address January 27 unveiled a proposal to freeze most non-defense discretionary spending for three years beginning in 2011. The coauthors of The IB are pleased that the President's FY 2011 Budget confirms that health care and benefits programs administered by VA will not be impacted by this freeze.

The Administration's budget includes nearly $51.5 billion for medical care programs for FY 2011, an increase of $5.0 billion over the FY 2010 appropriated level.  The IB recommends approximately $52.0 billion for medical care programs.  The budget request includes advance appropriations recommendations of $54.3 billion for medical care programs for FY 2012.

The budget also contains a significant increase in funding for the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), the VA agency charged with providing compensation and benefits to veterans.  The President's budget recommends $2.1 billion for VBA, an increase of $460 million over the FY 2010 appropriated level.  This funding increase reflects a real commitment toward bringing down the massive claims backlog and providing timely, accurate education benefits to service members and veterans eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

The IB coauthors do have concerns, however, with the level of funding recommended for construction projects and information technology.  With VA facing a massive backlog of important construction requirements and states becoming ever more reliant on VA to contribute to the funding for construction of long-term care facilities, now is not the time to reduce this critical funding. Likewise, there are a number of critical information technology initiatives that need to be addressed.  

AMVETS—a leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America's Armed Forces—provides not only support for veterans and the active military in procuring receipt of their earned entitlements, but also community services that enhance the quality of life for this nation's citizens. (www.amvets.org)

The 1.2 million-member Disabled American Veterans, a nonprofit organization founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932, is dedicated to a single purpose: building better lives for our nation's disabled veterans and their families. (www.dav.org)

Paralyzed Veterans of America was founded just after World War II by a band of spinal cord injured service members. These veterans from the "Greatest Generation" returned home to a grateful nation and to a world with few solutions to the challenges they faced. They made a decision not just to live, but to live with dignity as contributors to society. They created Paralyzed Veterans of America, dedicated to veterans' service, medical research and civil rights for people with disabilities. (www.pva.org)

With 1.5 million members, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is the nation's largest organization of combat veterans. Founded in 1899, the VFW consists of a nationwide network of 7,900 Posts and service officers who are dedicated to "Honoring the dead by helping the living." (www.vfw.org)

SOURCE Paralyzed Veterans of America; AMVETS; Disabled American Veterans; Veterans of Foreign Wars

RELATED LINKS
http://www.independentbudget.org
http://www.amvets.org
http://www.dav.org
http://www.pva.org
http://www.vfw.org

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SOURCE Paralyzed Veterans of America; AMVETS; Disabled American Veterans; Veterans of Foreign Wars
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