Congress Approves Sanders $1 Million Grant for the Vermont VA In Defense Appropriations Conference Report
Funding will help returning service members with health care and mental health needs
Burlington, VTCongressman Bernie Sanders today announced that the $1 million federal grant he secured for the Vermont VA to help returning service members with health care and mental health needs has received final approval from both Houses of Congress. The grant was included in the Fiscal Year 2006 Defense Appropriations Conference Report that passed the House earlier this week and was approved by the Senate today. It is expected that the President will sign the legislation into law shortly.
Sanders said, "I am delighted that Congress passed the $1 million that I had requested for the healthcare and mental health needs of our brave men and women returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and other parts of the world. This program will build on the very real progress the Vermont Guard and the VA have made in providing family services to those who are mobilized, on active duty, or have returned from military service in Iraq and Afghanistan."
The funding will expand programs established by the Vermont Guard and the VA with two previous grants secured by Sanders in 2003 and 2005. The grant will fund innovative initiatives to support family members prior to, during and after mobilizations, and particularly to help Guard Members reintegrate into their families, their towns and their jobs upon their return. The project is oriented toward the needs of those service members who live in small towns and rural communities, and to those who do not live near a military base.
Sanders said, "The casualties of this war have been very heavy. While over 2,700 have died and more than 19,000 have been wounded there is another dimension that is only now being fully understood - and that is the issue of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This disorder can cause very real problems for those returning from war and attempting to adjust back to civilian life. Social support is the number one predicator of successful readjustment, which means that working with families and communities is extremely important. The program we have established will go a long way towards providing our returning veterans with the help they need to reintegrate into their families, their towns and their jobs."