Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Bill could have backstopped VA shutdown reports that the VA still does not back pending advance appropriations legislation even though it could have shielded all VA programs from the current government shutdown.

Advance appropriations would cover VA expenses that have been shut down due to Congressional gridlock and government shutdown.

DAV’s Washington Executive Director Garry Augustine says that the current government shutdown, and the harmful effect it is having on veterans, “…is outrageous and unacceptable; worse, it was predictable and preventable.” He points out that VA medical care programs are currently protected from budget battles thanks to the enactment of advance appropriations several years ago. “Given the demonstrated success of advance appropriations for health care programs, and the continuing budget stalemates, Congress should vote to extend advance appropriations to all VA discretionary and mandatory programs,” Augustine concludes.

According to the report, “…the Department of Veterans Affairs will not say if it will support legislation -- first filed in February -- that would provide the entire agency with full funding a year in advance.”

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (FL), who sponsored the bipartisan legislation (H.R. 813) with Congressman Mike Michaud (ME), said his goal was, “…to keep VA services from becoming a casualty of partisan politics.”

Companion Senate legislation (S. 932) was introduced by Senators Mark Begich (AK) and John Boozman (AR), but has yet to be approved by the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

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