Dr. Boozman's Check-up

The Senate Veteran Affairs Committee took an important step in continuing our promise to the men and women who served in the Armed Forces by funding, in advance, all veteran services such as compensation and pensions and vocational rehabilitation loans programs the same way we do veterans’ health accounts by passing The Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 2013

This legislation introduced by my colleague Mark Begich (D-AK) and I, would to allow for better planning and management of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and would prevent veterans' benefits from being jeopardized in the event of future lapses in funding. This is a common sense way to fulfill our commitment to take care of the men and women who sacrificed for our country and provide them with the services on which they rely by funding them one year in advance. 

While the legislation is widely supported by Veteran Service Organizations, VA Secretary Shinseki is not embracing this idea. As Military Times reports “Shinseki made the point that veterans still would be hurt in a shutdown because many VA programs are inextricably intertwined with other federal agencies.” I agree that we should eliminate the threat of interruptions in government services and this legislation would prevent veterans’ benefits from being threatened in the future. 

The approval by the Senate committee is a major hurdle and I encourage the House to support H.R. 813, similar legislation that has been introduced in that chamber.

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