Washington, DC—Senate Democratic veterans held a press conference today to discuss the veterans’ funding bill Democrats want to send the President that includes the largest-ever increase in funding for our veterans. As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have stretched our VA increasingly thin, and as President Bush has consistently under-funded our veterans even in wartime, Democrats have led the fight to ensure our veterans receive the care they deserve. Senate Democrats called on Senate Republicans and President Bush to join them in supporting this funding.
“As a nation, we must keep our commitment to our veterans. On the battlefield, one never leaves behind a fallen comrade. Similarly, our veterans should never be left behind by a system meant to care for them,” said Senator Daniel Akaka. “Democrats have provided the largest funding increase in the history of the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure our troops coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan get the care they deserve, while continuing to meet the needs of veterans from previous wars. I urge my colleagues and our President to support this critical funding for our veterans. The system still needs improvement, and as Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I will continue to focus on the compensation process in months ahead, working off recommendations of the Veterans Disability Benefits Commission, the Dole-Shalala Commission and others.”
Said Senator Frank Lautenberg: “We are four days from Veterans Day, a time to honor the millions of Americans who put their lives on the line for our country. I’m proud the Senate is doing its duty by honoring America’s veterans with this bill. I am appalled that Senate Republicans are threatening to stand in the way. We are making good on our responsibility to America’s veterans and it’s time for President Bush to show leadership himself – by signing this bill.”