Dr. Boozman's Check-up

Despite the rainy weather, we still had a good turnout for our bipartisan, bicameral press conference on veterans funding this morning.

Senate and House Veterans Affairs’ Committee chairmen were on hand to speak as were representatives from many of the leading Veterans Service Organizations including the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Military Officers Association of America.

My remarks at the event focused on a bill I am sponsoring with Senator Mark Begich of Alaska (who also participated in this morning’s event) to allow Congress to pass advanced funding for key veterans’ programs.

In this era of budget uncertainty and funding lapses, protecting essential veterans’ services from being used as political footballs is the right thing to do. Expanding one-year advanced funding for these VA programs, like we currently do for VA health care, can ensure that all the services which our veterans have earned, and depend on, will continue should there be future funding lapses. As we saw from the shutdown, many veterans’ benefits – including disability compensation, pension and GI Bill benefits – also need the protection that advance funding provides them. 

At the same time, protecting veterans during budget fights isn’t the only reason to do this. To me, this seems like common sense budgeting that would enable the VA to have greater certainty and better planning for programs it’s implementing for our men and women who have served. So let’s work together to pass this bill and get our veterans the certainty they deserve.