BERKLEY BACKS MORE FUNDING TO SERVE NEEDS OF NEVADA VETERANS
White House Threatens Veto over Increase Needed to Care for America's
Congresswoman Shelley Berkley today voted to increase funding to care for America's veterans. The 2009 Military Construction and VA funding package was passed by the House this morning by a vote of 409-4. However, the White House is threatening to veto more funding for the VA, including additional resources to address PTSD and other mental 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 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
Total VA Funding: $47.7 billion, $2.9 billion over the President's
request, for veterans' medical care, claims processors, and facility
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 Capital 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