Senate Democrats

Democrats Call on Senate to Support Veterans’ Health Care

Democratic Senators join Veterans in support of saving Veterans Health Care from budget shortfall

Washington, DC – Today, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Veterans Affairs Committee Ranking Member Daniel Akaka were joined by two leaders of the veterans’ community to call on the Senate to take action to support veterans’ health care. The Senators were joined by Joe Violante, the National Legislative Director of the Disabled American Veterans and Vietnam Veteran and Steve Robertson, Director of the National Legislative Division of the American Legion, retired from the U.S. Air Force who spoke from first-hand experience the importance of the veterans’ health care system and impact today’s shortfall is having on soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Senators and the veterans leaders came together to talk about the urgent need to ensure that our veterans receive all of the health care services that they need and deserve. Veterans’ health care is both a moral and a security issue according to the Senators. Not only do those who served to protect Americans deserve these services, but supporting our veterans is an issue of national security.

“Democrats have been trying to do this for months, and we will continue to fight until it is done. Our Veterans deserve nothing less,” said Reid. “This is also a National Security issue – at a time when our military is struggling with recruitment and retention, we should not be cutting benefits for our veterans.”

Today’s call for action comes as Democratic Leader Reid will take action on the floor of the United States Senate to provide veterans with this health care. Reid will put forward a unanimous consent request calling for the Senate to take up the House-passed $975 million emergency appropriation in order to amend it with the twice-passed Senate $1.5 billion appropriation and send it back to the House for final passage.

Reid said of the funding, “If Veterans need $1.5 billion for health care, we should give it to them today. No ‘ifs,’ ‘ands’ or ‘buts’ about it.”

“Every day that goes by without this needed funding puts veterans at risk. I know for a fact that veterans are flatly being turned away. And vital health care services – like home care – are being denied because of the funding crisis. This is not simply about ‘deferring maintenance,’ this is about denying health care for those veterans who need it,” said Senator Akaka.

Later this afternoon, Democratic Leader Harry Reid will lead a delegation of Democratic Senators to Walter Reed Army Medical Center to visit with veterans receiving care there.