News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) –Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, heard testimony from Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki and representatives from veterans groups and the American Federation of Government Employees on next year's budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

On balance, and given that other agencies are facing budget cuts, this VA budget is a very good starting place from which to work,” said Senator Murray.  “The President has requested an overall increase for VA funding during a very difficult budget year, but we must ensure that the cuts he also proposed do not hurt the veterans who have sacrificed so much for this nation.  Going forward, I will work to add funding that is necessary for programs vital to veterans, such as for research and the operation of VA’s Inspector General which helps root out fraud and other problems with existing programs.”

The President’s budget request includes an overall increase of $1.8 billion in discretionary spending over Fiscal Year 2011 levels.  It also includes various proposed funding cuts, however, including a reduction in spending for construction and non-recurring maintenance, and a proposed $72 million cut for VA research funding.

Following today’s hearing, Members of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee will provide the Senate Budget Committee with their views and estimates for VA’s budget.  Views and estimates are a formal part of the federal budget process, in which Congressional Committees recommend funding levels for programs and activities under their legislative jurisdiction.  (See the Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s jurisdiction.)  The House and Senate Budget Committees review these recommendations when formulating the proposed Budget Resolution for the coming fiscal year.

The Chairman’s opening statement is available in audio.  For the full witness list and the witnesses’ written testimony, please visit http://veterans.senate.gov.