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VA Budget Earns High Praise
Date:11/6/2007

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is commending lawmakers for approving a conference report that will provide the largest increase in funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs in its history. DAV now calls on Congress and the Administration to support this important legislation and enact it by Veterans Day.

"The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill calls for an 18 percent increase over the VA's 2007 funding level," said DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director David W. Gorman. "This increase in veterans health care and other programs is especially welcome news at a time when our nation is at war."

As approved by a House-Senate negotiating panel, the measure calls for $43.1 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Veterans Affairs, the bulk of which is for veterans health care services. That total is $6.6 billion above the fiscal year 2007 enacted level and $3.7 billion above the President's request. Importantly, the funding increase approved by Congress does not rely on user fees or higher prescription co-payments that had been part of the President's budget request.

Gorman noted, however, that, "...despite widespread support for the increase, Congress and the Administration have not enacted a new appropriation for the new fiscal year which began on October 1 -- five weeks ago. As a result, VA cannot yet use any of that pending increase to hire new doctors or nurses, purchase new medical equipment, or increase medical care delivery to waiting veterans," Gorman said.

"Once again, as has occurred in 17 of the last 19 years, VA is operating without new appropriations. Over the past five years, VA's appropriations have been late by an average of three and a half months, unnecessarily challenging VA's health care delivery system. All of this demonstrates the clear need to reform the budget and appropriations process to guarantee that VA
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SOURCE Disabled American Veterans
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