White House seeks $125 billion for vets
WASHINGTON — To expand health care to a record-number of veterans, reduce the number of homeless veterans and process a dramatically increased number of new disability compensation claims, White House officials here announced Feb. 1 a proposed $125 billion budget next year for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Our budget proposal provides the resources necessary to continue our aggressive pursuit of President (Barack) Obama’s two over-arching goals for veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.
“First, the requested budget will help transform VA into a 21st century organization,” he said. “And second, it will ensure that we approach veterans’ care as a lifetime initiative, from the day they take their oaths until the day they are laid to rest.”
The $125 billion budget request, which has to be approved by Congress, includes $60.3 billion for discretionary spending (mostly health care) and $64.7 billion in mandatory funding (mostly for disability compensation and pensions).
“VA’s 2011 budget request covers many areas but focuses on three central issues that are of critical importance to our veterans: easier access to benefits and services, faster disability claims decisions, and ending the downward spiral that results in veterans’ homelessness,” Shinseki said.