For Immediate Release
Contact: John Hoellwarth
National Communications Director
AMVETS (American Veterans)
AMVETS National Headquarters, September 24, 2018 –President Donald Trump made history September 21 by signing the Department of Veterans Affairs fiscal 2019 budget law that will provide the agency with over $200 billion, an increase of more than 6 percent over last year’s budget and the highest budget ever requested by a U.S. president.
The budget sets aside $76.5 billion for VA medical care as part of the recently passed VA Mission Act and supports over 366,000 full-time personnel in the VA.
“Two hundred billion dollars sounds like a lot of money because it is. But taking care of veterans who served and fought for our country is a promise we cannot keep writing in disappearing ink,” said Joseph Chenelly, AMVETS National Executive Director. “Past VA budgets did not reflect actual need, which is why operational deficiencies have not only persisted, but have also worsened in the VA year after year. The unprecedented price tag authorized under the new law is more like payment for past due bills than a surplus of money for the VA.”
The 2019 Budget includes significant reforms intended to improve efficiencies and the management of resources, enabling the VA to operate the largest integrated health care system in the U.S., a system with over 9.3 million enrolled veterans. The 2019 Budget will also provide funding for modernizing VA’s electronic health record system, the expansion of mental health services, and $3.2 billion to strengthen VA’s aging infrastructure.
In addition to the 2019 VA Budget, the president signed the 2020 Advance Appropriations request that will set aside $121.3 billion in mandatory funding for veterans benefits programs, such as VA compensation and pensions payments to low-income and disabled veterans as well as readjustment benefits.
“AMVETS was a lead champion in the passage of the VA Mission Act, and I’m glad to see our efforts pay off in a major way with this budget. Now that the VA will be given the money it needs at the level it has long needed, we expect better management of resources and longstanding problems such as barriers to accessing timely care and inadequate IT systems, to finally get meaningfully addressed,” Chenelly said.
AMVETS is the nation’s most inclusive Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization. It is open to and fights for all veterans who served honorably, including reservists & guardsmen. AMVETS has been a nonpartisan advocate for veterans and their families for more than 70 years. amvets.org