VETERANS HEALTH CARE BUDGET REFORM AND TRANSPARENCY ACT OF 2009 -- (House of Representatives - June 23, 2009)
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Mr. HARE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 1016, the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009, and let me thank Chairman Bob Filner for introducing this important legislation.
In the 110th Congress, we gave the VA its largest funding increase in 77 years, and we did it on time. But, sadly, punctual VA funding has not always been the case. The VA received it's annual funding for health care programs late in the last 19 of 22 years.
This record of tardiness is deplorable. With the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the time to fix this broken system is now. Late funding is more than a missed deadline. It is a veteran with posttraumatic stress disorder who cannot access a treatment he or she needs. It is an injured hero who must wait for a prosthetic. It is a VA in disarray at a time when our wounded warriors are counting now more than ever on the department's services. That's why in the last Congress, I introduced the Assured Funding for Veterans Health Care Act. This bill would have replaced the annual appropriated discretionary funding for veterans health care with permanent direct spending authority.
Like the bill I introduced, advanced appropriations is the means to that end. That end is ensuring veterans receive the best possible care from a VA that has access to timely, sufficient, and predictable resources. The legislation that we're considering today will do just that. It will allow the VA to effectively budget and manage its health care programs and services, meaning it can hire the appropriate number of doctors, nurses, clinicians, and support staff to meet the demand for high-quality care for our veterans. Anything less is unacceptable.
I'd also like to acknowledge and commend Chairman David Obey and Chairman Edwards for their strong proactive leadership in putting in an advanced appropriation for VA health care in the fiscal year 2010 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill.
I enthusiastically support H.R. 1016, and I once again want to thank Chairman Filner for drafting a bill that would ensure the VA has sufficient, timely, and predictable funding.
Mr. Speaker, I urge all of my colleagues to support this legislation.
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