October 16, 2009

Senate Passes Bill To Secure Timely Funding Of Critical Services

Washington, D.C. – This week, the U.S. Senate passed the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009, which calls for the advanced funding of critical health care services to veterans. U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) are both co-sponsors of this bipartisan bill.

“This is a major victory for veterans and taxpayers that will reform the way our nation provides funding for veterans health care,” said Reed, who as a senior member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs has helped pass significant funding increases for the Department of Veterans Affairs in each of the past two years. “In the past, budget delays in Congress have made it more difficult for VA officials to hire new staff, upgrade medical facilities, and begin new construction projects. This legislation will help keep the VA out of budget limbo and allow for greater long-term strategic planning to improve veterans health care. I commend President Obama for making this bill a priority and look forward to having it signed into law.”

“This legislation upholds our commitment to our nation’s veterans and is a positive step toward ending funding delays that have undermined their health care in recent years” said Whitehouse. “This bill will help our brave men and women in uniform get the care they need in a timely manner.”

The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform Act of 2009 would authorize appropriations one year in advance for certain Veterans Administration (VA) medical care accounts. The bill would also require the Comptroller General to study the adequacy and accuracy of the budget projection methodologies used by the VA when it estimates health care expenditures, in order to provide the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) with a timely budget, allow for better planning, and provide services in a more predictable and timely manner.

The bill now goes to President Obama to sign into law.


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