BERKLEY BACKS MORE FUNDING TO SERVE NEEDS OF NEVADA VETERANS
White House Threatens Veto over Increase Needed to Care for America's Troops
Congresswoman Shelley Berkley today said she will vote to increase funding to care for Nevada veterans when the measure reaches the House floor. The White House is threatening to veto more funding for the VA, including additional resources to address PTSD and other metal health issues impacting troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The measure includes $48 billion in funding needed to serve the needs of veterans in Nevada and nationwide, a $3 billion increase over White House funding levels. The 2009 Military Construction and VA funding is expected to come before the house for a vote this evening. "The VA is facing its biggest challenge in decades as America welcomes home our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and this additional funding will help make sure we can provide these men and women, and our older veterans, the top notch healthcare they deserve," said Berkley. "Our bill increases funding for the VA by more than $3 billion over the President's budget and I challenge those seeking to block this bill to explain to America's veterans and their families why they oppose a measure that will enable us to better care for those who served our nation in the military. As a member of the Veterans" Affairs Committee, I have heard first hand from the VA about the need for more resources and today we are answering that call by increasing funding to expand healthcare, address mental health issues, modernize VA facilities, to aid homeless veterans and to supply state-of-the-art prosthetics to VA patients who have lost a limb or limbs," said Berkley.
H.R. 6599 - The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs FY09 Appropriations Bill
Total VA Funding: $47.7 billion, $2.9 billion over the President's request, for veterans' medical care, claims processors, and facility improvements.Mental Health and Substance Abuse: $3.8 billion for specialty mental health care and $584 million for substance abuse programs.Beneficiary Travel: $100 million above the President's request to increase the beneficiary travel reimbursement rate from 28.5 cents per mile to 41.5 cents per mile. Assistance for Homeless Vets: $130 million for the homeless grants and per diem program, rejecting the President's $8 million cut and the same as 2008, including $32 million to hire additional personnel for the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program.
New Generation Prosthetics: $1.6 billion, $250 million above 2008 and $116 million above the President's request, to provide veterans with appropriate prosthetic support given recent advances in technology. An additional $500 million will go to research to help improve the quality of life for injured and aging veterans.
Construction/Maintenance: $1.9 billion, rejecting the President's $788 million cut and $215 million above 2008, to fulfill the Department's commitment to fund recommendations made by the Capitol Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES), which was established to look at facilities and determine their construction. Also includes $5 billion for on-going maintenance and renovations.