Submitted by Thomas Mace
Please Write the President, Your Senators and Congresspersons Today and Call on Them to Support Advance Appropriations Legislation! Click HERE
The recent government shutdown disrupted, delayed and suspended many critical veterans services and benefits. Had this budget stalemate continued for another week of two, benefit checks for disability compensation, pension, and GI Bill benefits would have been cut off due to a lack of appropriations.
That's why DAV and two dozen veterans organizations this week joined together with the bills’ sponsors – House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (FL), Rep. Mike Michaud (ME), Sen. Mark Begich (AK) and Sen. John Boozman (AR) – and the Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee – Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) – at a bipartisan Capitol Hill press conference calling for swift passage of the Putting Veterans Funding First Act. This commonsense legislation would extend advance appropriations to all VA programs and thus help assure sufficient, timely and predictable funding -- not just during shutdowns -- but anytime there are budget delays.
Four years ago, in a near-unanimous display of bipartisanship, Congress passed, and the President signed, legislation to require that veterans medical care funding be appropriated a year in advance to mitigate the problems caused by chronically late and inadequate budgets. Thanks to the enactment of this law, VA hospitals and outpatient clinics were able to provide uninterrupted health care to injured and ill veterans during the recent shutdown because they already had their budgets approved in advance. VA health care officials have said that advance appropriations allow them to plan and manage their operations and their budgets more effectively and efficiently.
Now, with fresh evidence of how damaging budget stalemates and government shutdowns can be for veterans, their families and survivors, we have an opportunity to get Washington to take action that will strengthen all VA programs and protect veterans if a shutdown occurs again. We already have support from the House and Senate Veterans' Affair Committees; now we need to get the rest of the House and the Senate, as well as the President, on our side.
We need you to contact your Member of Congress, your Senators and the President and let them know that it's time to put veterans funding first. It's time for Congress to pass, and the President to sign, new legislation to extend advance appropriations to all VA discretionary and mandatory programs. Please use the prepared message to urge your Member of Congress, your Senators and the President to pass legislation this year.
Thank you for continuing to help fulfill our promises to the men and women who served through your active participation in the DAV Commander's Action Network.