News Releases

Murray Amendment Would Care for Veterans in Senate Budget

Mar 10 2005

Senator’s attempt to pay for cost of war is denied by Republican majority

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) today introduced an amendment to the Senate Budget Committee Resolution to fully fund the cost of veterans’ health care. Murray’s amendment, which would have increased funding for the VA by $2.85 billion – just three percent over last year’s funding levels – was rejected by the Republican majority on the Senate Budget Committee.

“I am disappointed that the majority party is turning their heads and ignoring the needs of our nation’s veterans,” Murray said. “The Administration decided to fund the war and all of its implications through supplemental requests, yet the President’s budget does not provide even one dollar for a very important cost of war – caring for our veterans. Now, the Senate Budget Committee has rejected a responsible way to pay for our veterans’ health care.”

Murray’s amendment provided $71.424 billion in VA Health Care funding for fiscal year 2006. This is an increase of $2.85 billion above the Republican-led Senate Budget Committee resolution.

At a time when our military actions abroad are creating new veterans, the Republican budget resolution actually reduces the VA budget by $864 million – a one percent decrease from last year’s funding levels.

The Murray Amendment also:

  • Rejected the President’s proposal to cut funding to State veterans’ homes

  • Eliminated the means-test for veterans to enroll for VA care

  • Provided for much-needed mental health services

  • Rejected the President’s proposal to drive veterans away from the VA with annual user fees and increased prescription drug costs

Murray reiterated her intent to offer an amendment to the President’s War Supplemental bill to fully fund veterans’ health care.

“The responsible thing to do was to include adequate funding for the VA within the budget resolution. Unfortunately, the majority said no. I will continue to work to fully fund veterans’ health care through the Supplemental bill on the floor of the Senate,” Senator Murray said. “With a new generation of combat veterans deployed around the world, the federal government must meet its obligations to our veterans rather than look away in favor of other priorities.”