The Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki appeared before the Committee on Veterans' Affairs to outline the Administration's budget request for FY 2012 for veterans' programs. FY 2012 begins on October 1, 2011.
The VA is requesting an overall budget of $132.2 billion and is proposing a $2.5 billion increase for overall VA medical care funding levels for a total of $53.8 billion. The VA is also recommending that $55.8 billion be provided in FY 2013 as an advanced appropriation pursuant to the landmark veterans advance appropriations legislation enacted last Congress.
"Although I have some concerns regarding the proposed funding levels and questions regarding some of the budgetary mechanisms that make up this proposal, if Secretary Shinseki tells me that this is what he needs to continue transforming the VA then I will offer my support and will fight to get the VA the funding levels it needs," stated Filner.
Veterans groups who co-author the annual Independent Budget (AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars) as well as The American Legion also testified regarding the VA's budget. The Independent Budget is recommending a total funding level of $55 billion for VA medical care, $1.2 billion above the VA's proposal.
"We simply must make sure that the VA can provide the benefits and services it is responsible for providing effectively, fairly, and quickly. I will continue to study the VA's budget to ensure that these requirements are met and will remain steadfast in my opposition to any reckless, ungrounded, and unjustified cuts that might be proposed for veterans programs."