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Concurrent Resolution On The Budget For Fiscal Year 2007

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BRADLEY of New Hampshire. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding me these 2 minutes. And I would like to respond to the gentleman from Texas who talked about veterans health care.

Let me just run through some of the numbers, because actually we are significantly increasing veterans health care spending in this budget. The 2006 appropriated number was $33.6 billion for veterans health care. In this budget under the chairman's mark, it was $36.1 billion. Under an amendment that was supported on a bipartisan basis and supported by the chairman, we increase that by nearly $800 million this year and for the next 4 years, bringing the total veterans health care number to $36.9 billion, which is a 9.8 percent increase.

We all know this is a 1-year budget. We have to continue to support our Nation's veterans, and we will do so. This year's budget allocates 10 percent of the health care dollars for mental health. We know how important that is with veterans returning from Iraq. Over the last several years we have doubled the health care numbers of veterans who are receiving top quality veterans health care from $2.5 million to $5 million. Over that 5-year period of time, the veterans health care dollars in the budget have gone from $21 billion to $33.6 billion last year, and under this budget, again, as I said before, $36.9 billion.

We have done other things, too, for veterans over the last 5 years, which have been very significant. We have more than doubled the GI education benefit. We have increased the death benefit for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to $100,000. We have increased the VA home loan guarantee by 67 percent. We have expanded national cemeteries. Under the defense bills for the last couple of years, we have increased survivor benefits phased in over the next several years to the 55 percent promised level. And we have finally helped resolve the concurrent receipts disability payments for our Nation's veterans. We have made significant progress for our Nation's veterans. This budget continues that.


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