News Releases

Senator Murray Calls on President to Make Veterans’ Healthcare a Priority

Jan 14 2005

Democratic Senators send letter to President in advance of budget request

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray, a key member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today joined with 32 of her colleagues in calling on President Bush to make veterans a priority in his fiscal year 2006 budget proposal.

The Senators’ letter comes on the heels of Murray’s meeting last week with leaders from Fort Lewis, Madigan, the Washington National Guard and local VA leaders to discuss their needs and concerns for serving returning troops.

Recent reports have indicated that despite the backlogs at VA hospitals in Washington state and across the country and the return of new veterans, the President plans to freeze spending for veterans’ healthcare in his upcoming budget request to Congress.

“With tens of thousands of servicemembers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom will return home this year, each of us has a responsibility to ensure that the VA health care system receives full appropriated funding – without reliance on increasing out-of –pocket fees to veterans,” the Senators said in the letter.

Thousands of Washington state soldiers, including nearly 4,000 members of the Guard and Reserve are currently servicing in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Last year, Senator Murray cosponsored an amendment to provide a 30 percent increase in funding for FY2005 and in subsequent years assure adequate funding levels to meet the needs of veterans in the system and inflation. Under the proposal, all vets would have full quality health care. The measure failed on a largely party-line vote.

Full text of the Senators’ letter to President Bush