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Budget Proposal a Starting Point for VA

WASHINGTON D.C., Feb. 15, 2011The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is appreciative of the funding increase President Obama proposed Monday for the Department of Veterans Affairs, but he has some serious concerns about proposed reductions in programs ranging from construction and infrastructure to medical and prosthetic research. 

"The VFW appreciates the proposed increase because it recognizes that the proper care and treatment of wounded and disabled veterans are ongoing costs of war," said Richard L. Eubank, who leads the 2.1 million-member VFW and its Auxiliaries.  "Our concern, however, is that the total discretionary request of almost $62 billion is just not enough for VA to improve all the programs and services on their watch." 

The proposed VA budget for fiscal year 2012 is $132.2 billion, of which $70.3 billion is for mandatory benefits such as disability compensation and pension.  The remaining $61.9 billion is discretionary funding, primarily for the Veterans Health Administration, which represents about a 10-percent increase over FY 2010 funding, but just 3 percent more than the proposed but never passed FY 2011 budget.   

In contrast, the Independent Budget recommends $65.3 billion, or 14.4 percent above 2010 levels and 8 percent about 2011.  The VFW coauthors the Independent Budgetnow in its 25th yearwith AMVETs, Disabled American Veterans and Paralyzed Veterans of America.  

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