About the VA Budget

The Bush Administration has requested $93.7 billion in Fiscal 2009 for Veterans Affairs, bettering the 2008 spending level by $3.4 billion, according to a VA release. However, as Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, says the budget request falls short when “basic factors, such as medical care inflation and other increases in VA’s operational costs are taken into account.” In his view, “It just is not enough.” Akaka says the VA budget doesn’t provide for “needed increases” in areas to support veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder. Akaka’s counterpart in the House, Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.) has similar doubts. At a House Veterans’ Affairs panel hearing last week, Filner noted that the Administration’s requested increase for medical care “has come at the expense of other VA programs,” including cuts in construction and medical and prosthetic research.