WASHINGTON—DAV (Disabled American Veterans) hailed the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee approval today of bipartisan legislation to provide advance funding for all Department of Veterans Affairs programs, services and benefits, including disability compensation payments.
“This legislation would ensure that all VA services will have timely, predictable funding,” DAV Washington Headquarters Executive Director Garry Augustine said. “Far too often essential veterans services have been put in jeopardy because of inadequate or delayed funding and threats of government shutdowns.”
Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) introduced the Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 2013 (S. 932) earlier this year to extend advance appropriations to all VA discretionary programs. The Committee adopted an amendment that would also authorize advance appropriations for VA mandatory benefit programs, such as disability compensation. During the recent government shutdown, many VA programs were disrupted and had it continued a couple weeks more, disability compensation checks would have been in jeopardy.
Congress currently funds the medical care portion of VA’s discretionary budget a year in advance, so providing the remainder of the budget up front would make it easier for the VA to plan for key investments in information technology, claims processing and construction projects.
“Advance appropriations have already made VA health care funding more sufficient, timely and predictable, and this new legislation can do the same for the rest of VA’s programs, benefits and services,” Augustine said. “Advance appropriations are a proven budget reform that can make VA effective every day of the year, as well as prevent real harm to millions of veterans if there is ever another government shutdown,” he said.
“DAV applauds Senators Begich and Boozman for introducing the bill and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for his leadership on this common-sense, forward-thinking approach to safeguarding the care and benefits veterans have earned for their service and sacrifice,” Augustine said.
DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with 1.2 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U. S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at www.dav.org.