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VA Funding Reform Bill Clears Congress
Date:10/15/2009

Congress Passes Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009

WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Federation of Government Employees, today, lauded the efforts of Congress in passing historic legislation to reform the way it funds health care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. For more than 20 years, AFGE has advocated for substantial reform in the VA funding process. AFGE applauds these members of Congress for their commitment to the VA, its patients, and its employees.

Earlier this year, AFGE stood with veterans' service organizations and House and Senate VA Committee members in staunch support as Rep. Filner and Sen. Akaka introduced the legislation. "We applaud the members of Congress for their commitment to veterans' care," said J. David Cox, AFGE national secretary treasurer and retired VA nurse. "It is the right thing to do for VA employees and for our nation's veterans."

The advanced appropriations bill, which was supported by the president when he was a Senator, will end the unpredictability and inadequacy of the VA's discretionary funding process, by allowing Congress to provide health care dollars to the VA in advance. The president is expected to sign the legislation.

AFGE and its National VA Council have been longtime advocates for mandatory funding of the VA, an approach widely supported by the veterans' community. AFGE with the nine veterans' groups comprising the Partnership for Veterans Health Care Budget Reform endorsed advanced appropriations as an alternative funding approach that is achievable in the short term. As detailed in the bill, advanced appropriations would authorize Congress to approve funding for VA health care a year in advance of the next fiscal year. The Partnership has also advocated that the Government Accountability Office study and provide a report to Congress annually for the next three years on the VA's budg
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SOURCE American Federation of Government Employees
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