Before departing for its August recess, the Senate approved advance appropriations for the Veterans Affairs’ health programs Thursday, clearing the way for advanced funding of VA hospitals.
Advocates said advance appropriations would ensure consistent, quality health care for veterans in case in case Congress does not pass the annual VA appropriation bill by the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30. VA is currently funded yearly, which has has resulted in late funding for VA programs in 19 of the past 22 years.
The House-passed 2010 spending bill for VA and military construction includes fiscal 2011 health care funding, and the House passed its version, HR 1016, June 23. The Senate passed HR 1016 by unanimous consent after substituting the text of the Senate version of the bill, S 423, for the House’s language in HR 1016.
Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, introduced the Senate bill and championed the bill’s passage. He praised the Senate for providing timely funding for veterans’ care.
Congress has worked in recent years to reverse VA’s chronic underfunding, but we still need to address the broken way that we fund the nation’s largest health care system. With advance funding we will make sure that veterans’ health care receives timely and predictable funding, allowing VA health care dollars to go further for veterans and taxpayers.”