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Letter to the Editor: Swift action needed on VA funding

Sunday, July 3, 2005

To the editor:

The Disabled American Veterans is calling on Congress to act quickly to cover a critical shortfall in funding for veterans health care for the current fiscal year and make sure the Department of Veterans Affairs has the resources it needs in future.

Following the recent disclosure by the VA that the agency faces a $1 billion shortfall this year, DAV national commander James E. Sursely said, "Congress and the administration must make veterans a top priority and fully fund medical care and other programs, which are a continuing cost of national defense."

The DAV raised the alarm earlier this year noting that VA medical facilities across the country were running out of money and face huge deficits. In April, the organization expressed its bitter disappointment that the U.S. Senate blocked an amendment to the $80 billion supplemental appropriation bill that would have provided $2 billion to cover the critical shortfall in funding for veterans medical care.

Under legislation passed by the House, the VA would receive a total of $68.1 billion in fiscal year 2006. VA health-care funding would be $28.8 billion. The Senate has yet to act on a bill funding the VA.

"Health care for millions of today's and tomorrow's veterans is in limbo because Congress and the administration have continually failed to adequately fund the VA," Sursely said.

DAVID S. CARTNER, Adjutant, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3174, Sikeston, Mo.