Statement of Senator John Kerry: White House Claim that Too Much is Being Spent On Veterans’ Health Care is “Outrageous”
| I am appalled that this White House thinks too much is being spent on veterans' health care. We’ve got veterans being turned away at the VA, veterans who can't get prescriptions filled, and we had a one billion dollar shortfall in the VA budget. What planet are these Administration officials living on if they think we're spending too much on veterans? What veterans are they talking to? Not the ones I’ve met, that’s for sure. |
Year after year, this administration has failed to request enough money for VA health care. They have closed hospitals and shortened hours. They excluded an entire class of veterans from care. And they have repeatedly tried to shift the burden for funding care onto the backs of veterans themselves through higher co-pays and enrollment fees. To suggest now that Congress has spent too much on veterans' health care is an insult.
We are creating new veterans in Iraq and Afghanistan every day, many of whom will need a lifetime of care as a result of their wounds. The last thing our veterans need is more cuts. We should honor their service in word and deed. Comments like those by Josh Bolten do neither.
# # #
Below is the transcript from today's House Budget Committee hearing in which OMB Director Joshua Bolten said that more was spent on VA healthcare than was actually needed -- despite the current VA budget shortfall for 2005 and 2006.
Chairman Jim Nussle (R-Iowa): One note of concern that I would forward is that obviously a lot of attention has been given to the underprojection this year. But as I understand it, this is on the heels of I believe at least two, maybe three years, where we had more than enough resources available in VA health. . . we ought to hit this a little bit tighter if we're going to be able to make plans for the future in our V.A. health and V.A. budget.
Chairman Joshua Bolten: . . . There have been there consecutive years preceding this one in which there was more money requested by the administration and more money appropriated by the Congress for the medical care portion of veterans' services than was actually needed in that year.
I think the appropriations have exceeded the V.A. medical care needs preceding three years by over half a billion dollars in each of the preceding three years.