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TMCNet:  Veterans Groups Urge Congress to Strengthen VA Budget

[March 04, 2014]

Veterans Groups Urge Congress to Strengthen VA Budget

WASHINGTON --(Business Wire)--

Four of the nation's leading veterans service organizations-AMVETS, DAV, Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans), and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), are expressing their concerns with the President's Budget for Fiscal Year 2015, which proposes $68.4 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The groups, who coauthor The Independent Budget (IB), a comprehensive budget and policy document, now look to Congress to correct the funding deficiencies and to reconsider the recommendations outlined in the IB-which calls for $72.9 billion to sufficiently meet veterans' health care and benefits needs.

Of great concern to the veterans groups is the serious underfunding of VA construction accounts. The President's budget for construction is approximately $2.75 billion less than what the IB recommends.

"While we appreciate the increases offered by the Administration's Budget for FY 2015 and for advance appropriations for FY 2016, particularly with regards to health care and benefits services, we have concerns that the serious lack of commitment to infrastructure funding to support the system will undermine the VA's ability to deliver those services," said The Independent Budget authors. "We now look to Congress to correct the funding deficiencies."

The President's budget proposes $61.9 billion for total medical care for FY 2016 advance appropriations and $589 million for medical and prosthetic research. While The Independent Budget recommends $62.4 billion for total medical care for FY 2016 advance appropriations and $611 million for medical and prosthetic research.

Additionally the President's overall budget request for VA is approximately $4.5 billion less than what the IB recommends for overall discretionary spending for FY 2015.

This marks the 28th year that The Independent Budget has been developed by AMVETS, DAV, Parlyzed Veterans and VFW. The document is written by veterans for veterans detailing funding requirements for VA. The Independent Budget aims to present a full picture of veterans' needs-and how government can meet these needs.


The full recommendations of The Independent Budget can be viewed at www.independentbudget.org.

About:

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

DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America's injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with 1.2 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U. S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at www.dav.org.

Paralyzed Veterans of America was founded by a group of seriously injured American heroes from the "Greatest Generation" of World War II. They created a non-profit organization to meet the challenges that they faced back in the 1940s - from a medical community not ready to treat them, to an inaccessible world. For more than 66 years, Paralyzed Veterans national office and 34 chapters across the nation have been making America a better place for all veterans and people with disabilities. www.pva.org

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is a nonprofit veterans' service organization comprised of combat veterans and eligible military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces. Founded in 1899 and chartered by Congress in 1936, the VFW is the nation's largest organization of war veterans and its oldest major veterans' organization. With more than 1.9 million VFW and Auxiliary members located in almost 7,000 Posts worldwide, "NO ONE DOES MORE FOR VETERANS." The VFW and its Auxiliaries are dedicated to veterans' service, legislative advocacy, and military and community service programs worldwide. For more information or to join, visit our website at www.vfw.org


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