Feingold Backs Bill Ensuring Funding for VA Health Care

For Immediate Release

Feingold Backs Bill Ensuring Funding for VA Health Care

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Russ Feingold is cosponsoring a major new piece of legislation
to help ensure funding for veterans health care doesn't fall through
the cracks of the appropriations process. Feingold is an original cosponsor
of the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform Act, introduced by Senate
Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel Akaka (D-HI). The legislation
would use "advanced appropriations" as a way to offer much
needed funding for programs that need timely support like health care
for veterans. The goal of the bill is to prevent funding delays, which
can cause hospitals and health care centers to put off buying equipment
or upgrading their facilities, thereby compromising the health care
of veterans.

"I have been a long
time supporter of mandatory funding for veterans health care because
Congress is routinely unable to provide funding for the VA on time,"
Feingold said. "By going the advanced appropriations route, delays
in the annual appropriations process will no longer impact the VA's
ability to get this critical funding to those who need it."

Advanced appropriations are
used when funding is time sensitive, such as the LIHEAP program which
provides energy assistance to low-income families to help pay their
energy bills. Funding for the Veterans Administration (VA) has been
appropriated belatedly in 19 of the last 21 years. Advanced appropriations
are supported by the Partnership for VA Health Care Budget Reform, a
coalition of veterans' service organizations.

Feingold is a longtime advocate
of mandatory funding for health care for veterans and has called on
the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs to hold hearings to examine
mandatory funding for the Veterans Health Administration. Feingold has
also been a strong advocate for increased veterans outreach to ensure
veterans know the benefits they are entitled to. He has also supported
increasing access to care through more Vet Centers for Wisconsin. Earlier
this year, the VA announced plans to open a new center in Brown County.

More information on Senator
Feingold's work on behalf of Wisconsin's veterans is available
at http://feingold.senate.gov/issues_veterans.html.

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