Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Supporting our troops with a vote

"History is littered with governments destabilized by masses of veterans who believed that they had been taken for fools by a society that grew rich and fat at the expense of their hardship and suffering." Anthony J. Principi -- former Secretary of Veterans' Affairs

VA Watchdog News Flash

March 16,2006

Ms. STABENOW. Mr. President, I rise today to offer an amendment to make veterans health care funding assured and mandatory.

Real security means supporting our troops abroad and making sure theyhave the body armor and the equipment they need, but it also means supporting them when they come home. It means giving our current and our future veterans the health care they need and deserve.

The amendment I am offering today provides full funding for veterans medical care to ensure that the VA has the resources necessary to provide quality health care in a timely manner to our Nation's sick and disabled veterans.

The problem we face today is that resources for veterans health care are falling behind demand, and we know this because every year we are trying to address the shortfall.

In 1993, there were about 2.5 million veterans in the VA healthcare system. Today there are more than 7 million veterans enrolled in the system, over half of whom receive care on a regular basis.

Despite the 160-percent increase in patients over the last decade, the VAhas received an average of only a 5-percent increase in appropriations during this administration. Some of my colleagues will say this amendment isn't necessary because there have been funding increases over the last several years. They also say we do not need to create another entitlement program. Over the last 2 years, we have seen a 500-percent increase in the number of veterans seeking care from the VA who have been serving in Iraq and serving in Afghanistan. But the administration's budget projects that the VA will treat 109,191 veterans next year, and this falls over 35,000 veterans short of the number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans the VA currently treats. So we see a 500-percent increase in the number of veterans coming home after serving us bravely in Iraq and Afghanistan, and yet their budget assumes that there are 35,000 fewer--fewer than last year--fewer Iraq and Afghanistan veterans we are going to treat next year.

These numbers do not make sense.

Last year's budget is also a case study on why we need to have assured funding for VA health care. In total, Congress provided an additional $3billion for veterans health care because the administration grossly miscalculated the need for veterans health care.

We need to finally move this into a category where every year those veterans coming home who need health care will know that the dollars are there based on their eligibility, based on their service, based on their need--not based on a debate on the floor in the Congress about how much we are willing to spend to address their health care needs. This should not be a year-to-year debate and commitment; this should be an assured commitment that the dollars will be there. Just as they are for Medicare, for Medicaid, our veterans ought to know that every year, their funding for critical health care services will be assured.Today's soldiers are tomorrow's veterans. America has made a promise to these brave men and women to provide them with the care they need--not based on a debate on how much we want to spend or calculations year to year on the numbers that folks think may or may not seek care. This ought to be about making sure that every one of our brave men and women coming home, whether it is from the current wars or whether it is our World War II vets or any other war or conflict in which our soldiers have been serving--when they need health care as veterans, we will fulfill our promises to make sure it is there for them. I urge my colleagues to support this very important amendment, supportedby all of the major veterans organizations in this country. It is time to get this done and get it done right

Vote Counts:

YEAs 46
NAYs 54
Alabama: Sessions (R-AL), Nay Shelby (R-AL), Nay
Alaska: Murkowski (R-AK), Nay Stevens (R-AK), Nay
Arizona: Kyl (R-AZ), Nay McCain (R-AZ), Nay
Arkansas: Lincoln (D-AR), Yea Pryor (D-AR), Yea
California: Boxer (D-CA), Yea Feinstein (D-CA), Yea
Colorado: Allard (R-CO), Nay Salazar (D-CO), Yea
Connecticut: Dodd (D-CT), Yea Lieberman (D-CT), Yea
Delaware: Biden (D-DE), Yea Carper (D-DE), Yea
Florida: Martinez (R-FL), Nay Nelson (D-FL), Yea
Georgia: Chambliss (R-GA), Nay Isakson (R-GA), Nay
Hawaii: Akaka (D-HI), Yea Inouye (D-HI), Yea
Idaho: Craig (R-ID), Nay Crapo (R-ID), Nay
Illinois: Durbin (D-IL), Yea Obama (D-IL), Yea
Indiana: Bayh (D-IN), Yea Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Iowa: Grassley (R-IA), Nay Harkin (D-IA), Yea
Kansas: Brownback (R-KS), Nay Roberts (R-KS), Nay
Kentucky: Bunning (R-KY), Nay McConnell (R-KY), Nay
Louisiana: Landrieu (D-LA), Yea Vitter (R-LA), Nay
Maine: Collins (R-ME), Nay Snowe (R-ME), Yea
Maryland: Mikulski (D-MD), Yea Sarbanes (D-MD), Yea
Massachusetts: Kennedy (D-MA), Yea Kerry (D-MA), Yea
Michigan: Levin (D-MI), Yea Stabenow (D-MI), Yea
Minnesota: Coleman (R-MN), Nay Dayton (D-MN), Yea
Mississippi: Cochran (R-MS), Nay Lott (R-MS), Nay
Missouri: Bond (R-MO), Nay Talent (R-MO), Nay
Montana: Baucus (D-MT), Yea Burns (R-MT), Nay
Nebraska: Hagel (R-NE), Nay Nelson (D-NE), Nay
Nevada: Ensign (R-NV), Nay Reid (D-NV), Yea
New Hampshire: Gregg (R-NH), Nay Sununu (R-NH), Nay
New Jersey: Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea Menendez (D-NJ), Yea
New Mexico: Bingaman (D-NM), Yea Domenici (R-NM), Nay
New York: Clinton (D-NY), Yea Schumer (D-NY), Yea
North Carolina: Burr (R-NC), Nay Dole (R-NC), Nay
North Dakota: Conrad (D-ND), Yea Dorgan (D-ND), Yea
Ohio: DeWine (R-OH), Nay Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Oklahoma: Coburn (R-OK), Nay Inhofe (R-OK), Nay
Oregon: Smith (R-OR), Nay Wyden (D-OR), Yea
Pennsylvania: Santorum (R-PA), Nay Specter (R-PA), Yea
Rhode Island: Chafee (R-RI), Nay Reed (D-RI), Yea
South Carolina: DeMint (R-SC), Nay Graham (R-SC), Nay
South Dakota: Johnson (D-SD), Yea Thune (R-SD), Nay
Tennessee: Alexander (R-TN), Nay Frist (R-TN), Nay
Texas: Cornyn (R-TX), Nay Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Utah: Bennett (R-UT), Nay Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Vermont: Jeffords (I-VT), Yea Leahy (D-VT), Yea
Virginia: Allen (R-VA), Nay Warner (R-VA), Nay
Washington: Cantwell (D-WA), Yea Murray (D-WA), Yea
West Virginia: Byrd (D-WV), Yea Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea
Wisconsin: Feingold (D-WI), Yea Kohl (D-WI), Yea
Wyoming: Enzi (R-WY), Nay Thomas (R-WY), Nay


Mr. Natural said...

Blogg-dit, thanks Rich!

dailyread said...

Thanks my Brother. It is hard to understand how these Congressional Rs keep getting away with saying one thing, and then doing something else. To top it off, they would call the Dems unpatriotic for voting the way they did.