WASHINGTON--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Today, the co-authors of The Independent Budget—AMVETS, DAV (Disabled American Veterans), Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Veterans of Foreign Wars—called for the House of Representatives and Senate to take immediate action to give final approval to legislation providing the full year’s FY 2014 appropriation for all veterans programs.
“Furthermore, funding the operations of the VA through short-term continuing resolutions (CRs) or other stop-gap measures are not acceptable solutions. CRs also prevent VA from starting or expanding critical programs and disrupt or delay vital new research and construction projects.”
In a letter to the leadership of the House and Senate, the organizations expressed tremendous disappointment at Congress’ inability to pass a full annual budget leading to the current government shutdown. They emphasized, "Your failure is already causing real harm to the brave men and women who have served and sacrificed for this nation. These are real impacts on veterans, many of whom are struggling to transition back into civilian life."
The current government shutdown has stopped work on the more than 250,000 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) appeals that are awaiting adjudication; compensation, pension and education benefits are in jeopardy of not being paid; Vocational Rehabilitation offices are working with reduced staffs; and the Department of Labor’s VETS programs and federal employment OneStops are closed.
The letter went on to state, "Furthermore, funding the operations of the VA through short-term continuing resolutions (CRs) or other stop-gap measures are not acceptable solutions. CRs also prevent VA from starting or expanding critical programs and disrupt or delay vital new research and construction projects."
The organizations also called for the House and Senate to immediately consider and approve H.R. 813 and S. 932, legislation that would extend advance appropriations to all VA discretionary and mandatory appropriations accounts. Advance appropriations have shielded VA health care from most of the harmful effects of the current government shutdown as well as prior continuing resolutions. Approval of this legislation would provide the same protections to all remaining discretionary and mandatorily funded veterans programs, including disability compensation processing and payments.
The Independent Budget veterans service organizations concluded: "Our organizations and the millions of veterans we represent will no longer tolerate Congress leveraging veterans’ health and wellbeing to achieve unrelated political ends. Congress’ obligation to veterans does not start in the eleventh hour of a national crisis; you have an obligation to pass a timely, sufficient budget for all veterans programs, benefits and services."
AMVETS—a leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s Armed Forces—provides not only support for veterans and the active military in procuring receipt of their earned entitlements, but also community services that enhance the quality of life for this nation’s citizens. www.amvets.org
DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with 1.2 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U. S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at www.dav.org.
Paralyzed Veterans of America was founded by a group of seriously injured American heroes from the “Greatest Generation” of World War II. They created a non-profit organization to meet the challenges that they faced back in the 1940s — from a medical community not ready to treat them, to an inaccessible world. For more than 66 years, Paralyzed Veterans national office and 34 chapters across the nation have been making America a better place for all veterans and people with disabilities. www.pva.org
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is a nonprofit veterans’ service organization composed of combat veterans and eligible members from the active, Guard and Reserve force. Founded in 1899 and chartered by Congress in 1936, the VFW is the nation’s largest organization of war veterans and its oldest major veterans’ organization, with almost 2 million VFW and Auxiliary members located in 7,200 VFW Posts worldwide. For more information or to join, visit the organization’s Web site at www.vfw.org.