Washington, D.C. – “I am greatly disturbed and concerned to learn that the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is facing a funding crisis totaling at least $1 billion. The VA funding shortfall should have been accounted for and addressed by the Bush administration and not ignored until the crisis is upon us. For months now, Democrats have brought attention to this issue and have taken actions to improve and increase funding for our veterans to ensure that they receive the services they have earned. Instead of coming clean with the Congress and the American people, the Bush administration assured us that the VA had the funding they needed; this was clearly either shortsighted, or intentionally misleading.
“Unfortunately, this funding shortfall points to continued unwillingness of the Bush administration to come clean with the American people about the full cost of the war in Iraq. Everyday we have veterans returning from the battlefield who require crucial services that they not only deserve but that we as a nation are morally obligated to provide. VA officials have reported that one in four veterans returning home from Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom have sought health care, yet the Bush Administration has offered a veterans budget that falls billions of dollars short of needs. We will do whatever it takes to ensure that our veterans receive the care and resources they need.”