News Releases

Murray Declares Victory for America’s Veterans in Senate

Jun 29 2005

Murray’s efforts pay off, Senate passes $1.5 billion to fix Administration shortfall

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, after months of warnings and efforts to increase funding for veterans’ health care, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced a major win for America’s veterans. Thanks to Murray’s persistent work, the Senate passed her amendment to provide $1.5 billion in emergency spending for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Murray’s amendment passed 96-0.

“Today, the Senate stands in full support of our soldiers from previous conflicts as well as those who are serving us today. It’s a powerful message and one that I am very proud to be a part of,” Murray said.

Murray tried three times this year to increase funding for the VA within both the budget and Emergency War Supplemental, but her efforts were rejected each time on party-line votes. Republicans in Congress repeatedly denied her attempts, arguing that VA Secretary Jim Nicholson said that the agency didn’t need additional funding.

Last week, Murray’s predictions came true as the VA announced a shortfall of $1 billion for fiscal year 2005.

“I find it appalling that an agency that is designed to advocate for our veterans could be so short-sighted,” Murray said. “I have talked to veterans all across the state of Washington and looked at the VA’s own numbers. To me, it was obvious that we needed to be doing more; it is shameful that the VA either didn’t see it coming or chose to hide the truth.”

Murray’s amendment for $1.5 billion will fix the VA’s budget shortfall for 2005, prevent the raiding of essential VA construction accounts and help local veterans’ service providers deal with higher caseloads of wounded veterans.

“We all have a responsibility – not as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans, to be there for our soldiers when they come home. I am proud that the Senate today did right by our veterans and I will be there to ensure that we continue to honor their service and sacrifice by providing the care they need when they return home,” Murray said.