Today, Congressman Joe Donnelly and Congressman John Hall (D-NY), along with 46 other representatives, sent a letter to President George W. Bush urging him to release $3.7 billion in contingency emergency funding recently provided by Congress for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The funding, which is included in H.R. 2764, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, is needed to alleviate many difficulties currently facing the VA. Most importantly, the Department has made virtually no progress in reducing the number of pending benefit claims awaiting a decision and has had little success in reducing the time a veteran waits to get a decision on his claim. With VA offices remaining understaffed and an influx of veterans returning from Iraq, the problem is bound to worsen unless more funding is released to hire more staff.
"Our nation's veterans deserve the best care and service available. Congress has acted by providing crucial emergency funds to the VA to improve healthcare for veterans and to hire more staff to reduce bureaucratic bottlenecks," said Donnelly. "I sent this letter to urge the president to do the right thing by releasing the $3.7 billion we've provided to better fund the VA and do right by our veterans."