March 1, 2009 (Washington, D.C.) -- House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA) provided the following statement on President Obama’s Budget Outline for the Department of Veterans Affairs for Fiscal Year 2010. “I applaud President Obama’s budget request for the Department of Veterans Affairs. After sixteen years on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I am very encouraged that this outline is consistent with recommendations made by the veterans’ groups who co-author the Independent Budget. This has never happened in the IB’s 23-year history!
“This budget request will increase funding for VA by 15% this year and by $25 billion over the next five years, including a proposed $4.9 billion increase for Fiscal Year 2010. After years of funding neglect and budget shortfalls, I commend President Obama on this honest assessment of the funding needs of the VA. “This budget outline provides a path to restoring and revitalizing the services provided to veterans.
For homeless veterans, it means improved support services to combat this national disgrace. For rural veterans, it means increased services and enhanced outreach for mental health care and traumatic brain injuries. For returning veterans, it means timely implementation of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill to expand educational entitlements.
“At long last, Congress has received a budget request that will help expand health care to more than 500,000 veterans. We face the very real prospect of more and more of our veterans facing economic hardships and losing access to medical care, but this is a critical investment in meeting their needs. There are too many uninsured veterans who need medical care and cannot afford it and I am extremely pleased that President Obama is committed to restoring health care eligibility for our veterans. “The service and sacrifice of our veterans is real, and the budget for the VA not only provides realistic funding levels to meet these needs, it also reinforces the sacred trust our nation has with its veterans."