News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) helped pass an appropriations bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) that increases healthcare funding by 12 percent over last year. The Senate bill rejects new fees and co-payments that the Bush Administration had sought to impose on some veterans.

"I'm pleased that we were able to increase veterans funding without imposing new fees on America's veterans," Murray said. "But I'm very troubled that veterans in my region continue to face some of the longest delays for the medical care they have earned."

The funding, contained in the FY 2007 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, passed the full Senate Appropriations Committee today and next needs to be approved on the Senate floor.

The bill provides $77.9 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, an increase of $6.45 billion over last year.

  • For VA Medical Services, the bill provides $28.69 billion ($3.06 billion more than last year – a 12 percent increase).

  • For VA Medical Facilities, it provides $3.57 billion ($271.3 more than last year).

  • For Medical and Prosthetic Research, it provides $412 million (same as last year and $13 million over the President's request).

Within the bill, Murray also secured $38 million to build a new VA nursing home in Tacoma and $390 million for Washington's military bases.

In February, President Bush proposed a VA budget that increased funding by imposing new fees and co-payments on veterans. This year, as in years past, Murray helped block those fees from being imposed.

Murray continued to express concern that Northwest veterans face some of the longest delays in the nation for VA care. According the VA's latest quarterly report to Congress, VISN 20 (which includes veterans in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska) is the worst of the 21 VISNs when it comes to providing primary and specialty care within 30 days of the desired date.