This afternoon, Speaker Pelosi and Members of Congress joined representatives from Veterans Service Organizations to enroll the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act and send it to the President’s desk for his signature:
The legislation, a top priority for Veterans Service Organizations and Congress, authorizes appropriations for Veterans Affairs Department medical care programs one year in advance of the start of each fiscal year, beginning in 2011. This will ensure reliable and timely funding to support the delivery of high quality medical care for our veterans — providing time for the VA to plan how to deliver the best care to an increasing number of veterans with increasingly complex medical conditions. This is critical to meeting our obligation to our veterans, making sure that any delays in Congress never hinder veterans' medical care. Last year was the first time in 12 years in which the veterans' appropriations bill was enacted on time. This year, the House passed the Military Construction Appropriations bill on time, but the Senate has not yet completed action on the bill.
The Speaker’s remarks:
Good afternoon. This is a happy day for us because we are making progress for our veterans. This landmark legislation upholds our commitment to our nation's veterans, to the men and women who serve overseas so that we can know safety here at home. The support of 409 Members — a very, very strong bipartisan show of support — shows that they care for our veterans here in the Congress in a very bipartisan way. I am joined by the Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, Congressman Bob Filner of California, and Congressman Chet Edwards of Texas, who is the chair of the Appropriations subcommittee for our veterans. I am also pleased to be joined by Congressmen Henry Brown and John Boozman, our Republican colleagues.
Again, with this message we are ensuring that the VA can more effectively plan for the future and our veterans will have the sources of care and support they have earned. I am proud to stand by the side of so many of our colleagues and so many veterans who are with us, America's veterans groups and veterans organizations. We reiterate a solemn promise to the members of our armed forces: just as the military pledges never to leave a soldier behind on the battlefield, when they come home we will leave no veteran behind.
I am honored to sign the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009. And I am going to do it with many pens.