Two significant legislative events occurred in Washington this week that affect DAV members and our supporters. The national legislative staff wants to be sure you are made aware of them.
VA Programs Reauthorized by Congress
On September 30, 2015, the House passed S. 2082, the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act. This bill, which cleared the Senate last week, extends VA authority to continue certain VA programs, including its Caregiver Support Program, assistance for child care, and the pilot program on counseling in retreat settings for women veterans. This bill has been submitted to the President and is expected to be approved.
While this measure did not eliminate the sunset date and funding cap for the Caregiver Support Program, DAV worked closely with appropriators and authorizers, strongly recommending an additional $74 million above the President’s request for this program for fiscal year 2016. Congress agreed. DAV can take pride in effecting this accomplishment for thousands of families of the severely wounded. DAV also called on Congress during hearings held in April concerning the needs of women veterans, to highlight DAV’s 2014 report Women Veterans: The Long Journey Home, to make permanent the pilot program on counseling in retreat settings for women veterans, to improve access to child care, and provide better responses to the needs of women veterans as they transition to civilian life.
Continuing Resolution Approved
Congress and the President have approved a 10-week continuing resolution to fund the federal government. This legislation continues VA spending at the fiscal year 2015 rate, but then reduces it by 0.2108 percent. However, the VA’s General Operating Expenses appropriation was increased to almost $2.7 billion, to aid the Veterans Benefits Administration in working down the disability claims backlog.
DAV will remain vigilant to ensure all VA programs receive adequate full-year funding from Congress when this continuing resolution expires on December 11.
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