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Walden Supports Increased Funding For Oregon Veterans' Health

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Walden Supports Increased Funding For Oregon Veterans' Health

The House of Representatives today passed legislation that provides major funding increases for issues important to Oregon veterans. The military spending and veterans affairs appropriations bill, which passed the House by a 409-2 margin, was supported by Congressman Greg Walden (R-Ore.).

"The men and women in uniform put everything on the line for us and deserve the very best care when they return home," Congressman Walden said. "They must know that no matter what, the American people will support them and will never forget the debt we owe them."

Last month, two members of Congressman Walden's staff traveled throughout the vast Second District to meet with veterans and compile a "to-do" list for the Congressman. Among the biggest concerns they heard voiced repeatedly were the following:

· Access to quality health care

o What this bill does: Commits $37.1 billion — $2.5 billion over the 2007 amount — for the Veterans Health Administration. Also dedicates $28.9 billion to improve medical services for all veterans, including funds to renovate existing facilities and construct new facilities like the planned community-based outpatient clinic in La Grande.

· Fairer reimbursement for travel to and from VA hospitals in rural areas

o What this bill does: Doubles the reimbursement rate for veterans traveling to and from appointments for medical care.

· Funding for mental health programs

o What this bill does: Over $600 million for a new initiative to address mental health and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

· Addressing the significant backlog of VA disability claims

o What this bill does: Commits $1.6 billion to enable the Department to hire roughly 1,100 additional claims processors to work-down the backlog of benefits claims and to reduce the time to process new claims.

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