Update: This Budget Resolution passed the Senate Budget Committee on 3/15/07.
(Washington, D.C.) - Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a key member of the Senate Budget Committee, succeeded in helping to increase the Fiscal Year 2008 Budget for the care of our nation's veterans. Under the budget introduced in the Budget Committee today, veterans spending will total $43.1 billion, an increase of $3.5 billion over the President's budget request. The $43.1 billion also represents a full 98 percent of the Independent Budget that is devised by several Veterans Service Organizations including Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Disabled American Veterans (DVA), and AMVETS.
"With the country at war, and with failures in veterans' care being exposed each day, it is an absolute imperative that we take this step to correct the administration's funding failures," said Senator Murray. "Shortchanging our veterans has become an unfortunate pattern in past budgets and I am so pleased that we are breaking that cycle. This budget takes significant steps forward to help veterans get the care they were promised when they signed up to serve."
Senator Murray is the second-ranking Democratic member of the Budget Committee, a member of the Senate Democratic Leadership, and a senior member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee. She has been an outspoken leader on veterans' care including her work in highlighting a $3 billion shortfall in veterans care in 2005 and 2006.
"As we begin the fifth year of this war, the lack of administration spending on our nation's veterans is everywhere you look," said Senator Murray. "Whether it is veterans struggling to get mental healthcare, long waiting lines for initial benefits claims, or a lack of focus on TBI care, we are seeing what happens when veterans care does not get the funding it deserves. By increasing funding for veterans, this budget does what the administration has long failed to do - recognize our service members as a cost of this war."
The Democratic resolution also rejects the President's proposals to impose new fees and higher drug co-payments on certain veterans. It has been estimated that those increases would result in more than 100,000 veterans leaving the VA health care system.