Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Veterans stabbed in the back
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 14, 2005
Veterans Health Care Supplemental Defeat a ‘Bitter Disappointment’
Disabled American Veterans National Commander James E. Sursely today expressed the organization’s bitter disappointment that the United States Senate blocked an amendment to the $80 billion supplemental appropriation bill to provide $2 billion to cover a critical shortfall in funding for veterans medical care.
“Less than half way through the current fiscal year, Veterans Affairs medical facilities across the country have already run out of money and face huge deficits, an emergency situation if there ever was one,” Sursely said.
The amendment failed to win approval in two procedural votes that saw just one Republican, Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter, along with every Democrat and the Senate’s lone Independent voting in favor.
The amendment, offered by Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), would increase funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs by $1.98 billion for the current fiscal year and designate it as emergency spending. Some $840 million of that money would be used to provide each veterans regional health network with an additional $40 million. The amendment designated $610 million to address the needs of servicemembers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and $525 million would be used to provide mental health care and treatment for veterans.
“That money is urgently needed to stem the flow of red ink that threatens health care for today’s veterans and thousands of men and women injured and disabled during the war in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Commander Sursely. “Sick and disabled veterans are bitterly disappointed that some in Congress refuse to act before this emergency becomes an even worse crisis.”
“VA facilities in every region of the country have exhausted reserve funds to meet critical needs. Many have stopped hiring doctors and nurses because of shortfalls, while still others have cut back or even eliminated medical services. Health care for millions of today’s and tomorrow’s veterans is in limbo because Congress and the Administration have continually failed to adequately fund the VA,” Sursely said.
The 1.2 million-member Disabled American Veterans, a non-profit organization founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932, represents this nation’s wartime disabled veterans. It is dedicated to a single purpose: building better lives for our nation’s disabled veterans and their families. For more information, visit the organization’s Web site www.dav.org.