FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Obama Signs Historic Legilsation for Veterans Healthcare, IAVA Attends White House Signing Ceremony
New York – Today, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the nation's first and largest non-partisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, issued a statement in response to the Obama signing the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act (H.R. 1016).
THE ISSUE IN 30 SECONDS:
- Today, President Obama signed the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act (H.R. 1016).
- The legislation requires Congress to approve the health care budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at least one year in advance.
- Representative Bob Filner [CA-51] introduced the House bill [H.R. 1016] on February 12, 2009, and received 125 cosponsors.
- A companion bill (S.423) was introduced in the Senate by World War Two Veteran, Senator Daniel Akaka [HI] on February 12, 2009, and received 56 cosponsors.
WHY IT MATTERS:
- This legislation will provide timely, predictable funding for veterans’ health care by requiring Congress to approve a health care budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at least one year in advance.
- It removes partisanship and politics from the veterans funding process forever.
- It has been a top priority for leading veterans groups for decades.
- This will help to end inadequate planning and rationed care in the VA health care system.
- This critical legislation was IAVA’s top Legislative Priority for 2009 and the focus of our annual ‘Storm the Hill’ campaign at the start of the year. Veterans from all over the country worked for ten months to make this happen.
- IAVA’s Paul Rieckhoff and Patrick Campbell were both at the White House today with the President for this historic moment.
TAKE A QUOTE FROM AN EXPERT:
Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) quotes:
“Today, the President’s signature transformed VA care for America’s veterans forever. At the signing, I witnessed the President put an end to the rationing of care for our country's veterans, even when Congress fails to deliver the VA budget on time. This is a historic investment in the future of veterans' health care that will benefit millions of American heroes. With this legislation, politics can no longer stand in the way of VA funding and VA Secretary Shinseki is more effectively set up for success.
Just two weeks ago the Senate failed to pass the VA budget for the twentieth time in twenty-three years. This failure further illustrates the need for advanced appropriations; as the VA cannot count on Congress to pass their budget on time. Veterans deserve better than late budgets and month-to-month planning.
Advance Funding has been the goal of veteran service organizations for over two decades. Working together, we were able to achieve this landmark legislation. IAVA thanks the President for his leadership and Congress for their continued support of this issue for our nation’s veterans.”
- H.R. 1016: Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009
- IAVA-Storm the Hill
- House Veterans Affairs Committee
- Senate Veterans Affairs Committee
- CNN: Paul Rieckhoff on Advanced Funding of VA Healthcare
- MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show: IAVA's Storm the Hilland Advance Funding
- Army Times: New Fiscal year begins with no new VA budget
- Congress Gets Paid, Veterans Get Shafted
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the country's first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 150,000 veteran members and civilian supporters nationwide. Its mission is to improve the lives of this country's newest generation of veterans and their families.