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IMMEDIATE RELEASE





Press Release

March 1, 2006

No. 06-002


Contact:
Mokie Porter

(301) 585-4000 Ext. 146
(301) 996-0901

 

Caring for Veterans Is Part of National Defense
 

See VVA Testimony


(Washington, D.C.) – "The cost of caring for veterans and their families is part of the continuing cost of the national defense," said John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), before a  House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs today.

"Despite the increases in recent years, the FY 07 budget is short by at least $4.2 billion. Even if the VA continues to deny health care to hundreds of thousands of veterans, the health care budget is still short by some $2.3 billion. We thank the House Veterans Affairs Committee," Rowan added, "for adding $1.9 billion to the VA’s proposed budget to cover compensation and pension enhancement."

Citing GAO reports that the VA’s health care budget formulation is flawed, Rowan proposed that Congress "form a bipartisan investigative group. A fair funding formula can be arrived at," Rowan said. "One that won’t bust the budget, one that stresses accountability, yet one that recognizes our nation’s obligations to veterans."

Rowan added that VVA is vehemently opposed to the rate hikes for Tri-care proposed by the administration. These hikes would drive many more retired disabled veterans into an overburdened VA healthcare system.

Rowan also called for the elimination of the "widow’s tax" whereby military survivors benefits are deducted from VA DIC payments. 

"The VA has an obligation," Rowan said, "to reach out to all veterans and their families – not just those who seek care and compensation from the VA to ensure that they know what benefits they have earned in serving our nation and how to access those benefits."

The full text of Mr. Rowan’s testimony can be found at www.vva.org

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Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families.  VVA's founding principle is “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

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