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Legislative Alert: VA Health Care Funding Needs Your Help Now (Updated Late Fri Afternoon)

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I've already written about discretionary versus mandatory / assured funding (Veterans Health Care: Call the Funding What You May, Just Do It -

). However, right now we are faced with the case of no funding at all!

Below is a sample communication you could decide to send to your Representative and Senators regarding the recent lack of action by our Congress on the current needed VA Health Care funding issue.

While it is always best to use your own words, if you don't have the time yet feel you want to have your voice heard, feel free to use those below.

To contact your Representative go to "Write Your Representative" (

), fill in your state and zip code, and follow the instructions.

To contact our Senators, fill out the Web Forms for Senator Clinton (

) and Senator Schumer (


And if you should send this to someone not in New York, to contact their Senators they should go to "Senators of the 109th Congress" (

), select their state, and fill in the "Web Form" for both of their Senators.

Please, consider contacting your Representative and Senators on this issue -- you would be doing a needed service for our current service members and our uniform services' veterans.

I thank you!


Dear ...

In a sentence, quit playing kick-the-can with VA Health Care funding!

Before breaking for Mid-Term Elections earlier this month, Congress passed only two FY 2007 appropriation bills to cover the ongoing cost of the Global War On Terrorism.

Unfortunately, you seem to have forgotten that VA Health Care is also an ongoing cost of war, one that lasts long after the guns are silenced, treaties are signed, and the dead are buried.

I read that there is much talk in Washington about plans to delay final passage of VA Health Care funding until the new 110th Congress is convened. This would mean the VA would continue to be funded at the current funding level, some $8.8 billion less than planned for FY 2007.

Before you adjourn the 109th Congress, there is still important business to be finished. The current continuing resolutions fail to provide adequate funding for VA Health Care. VA medical facilities are continuing to receive new patients returning from Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. War does not provide "recesses" or "timeouts" for casualties. The "thanks of a grateful nation" is not conditional; it must be a national commitment.

Please, do the right thing -- and do it before you and your fellow Congress members go home to celebrate the holidays with your families and friends; something far too many service members and veterans will not be able to do.

Very truly yours,


Update 061201.1705-5

Squabble Over Funding South Carolina Facility Could Stall VA Budget Bill
- House and Senate don't agree on funding a joint civilian-VA hospital at University of South Carolina.

Taken From Larry Scott's VA Watchdog dot Org

It looks like the VA budget could be held up because of House/Senate fighting over funding for a joint civilian-VA hospital in South Carolina. This project has been pushed by Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN), outgoing Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Buyer's plans to privatize the VA hinge on this joint facility. Background here... newsflashes SEP 06/newsflash09-17-2006-6.htm

Currently, there is $70 million tucked into the VA budget to study this joint venture. The House won't budge on taking it out...and the Senate won't pass it as it stands.

In a most unusual move, Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), outgoing Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, was joined by Ranking Democratic Member and soon-to-be Chair, Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), to issue a "let's hold hands" press release.

In the release, Craig and Akaka state: "

The Senators are concerned that committing to the South Carolina project as passed by the House - without any discussion or compromise - could set a precedent of the federal government spending its limited construction funds for projects other than those directly serving veterans.


Hats off to Larry Craig and Daniel Akaka for setting the record straight.

We would be spending hundreds of millions of dollars for a hospital that served civilians and veterans. VA funding is for veterans only! Period!

And, if this budget doesn't pass...we have to look at the big picture. Who caused this? Rep. Steve Buyer.

If veterans have to wait until next year for a budget that should have been ready by October 1, 2006 ... BLAME BUYER !

Press release here...


--- Regards, Walt Schmidt