Bill to Reform VA’s Budget Planning Introduced – Subject of House Hearing Today

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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Mike Michaud (Maine-02), Ranking Member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, announced the introduction of H.R. 2704, the “Department of Veterans Affairs Budget Planning Reform Act of 2013,” a bill he wrote to require the VA to institute a more analytical and transparent budget development process. The bill requires a quadrennial veterans review to ensure the VA’s strategy will meet current and future veteran needs, and a five-year program with expected outcomes, milestones and resources. The bill also designates a Chief Strategy Officer to ensure that the planning and programming phases of the process are fully considered and implemented.
The bill was considered during a legislative hearing the committee held today. Michaud’s opening statement at the hearing, which provides details of his legislation, can be found here. The bill is supported by HVAC Chairman Rep. Jeff Miller (Florida-01).
“A five-year plan would look beyond a single year’s budget, and next year’s forecast. It would force the VA to accurately and fully account for the taxpayer dollars provided to it,” said Michaud. “I look forward to working with members of the committee and our veterans to make sure that the VA’s financial management process is not the result of budgeting-by-crisis. The VA needs a financial system that is equal to the task of running the second-largest federal agency. This system must also be capable of meeting the needs of veterans—not only today, but into the future.”
Today’s legislative hearing also considered the “Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 2013” (H.R. 813), a bill Michaud introduced with Chairman Miller to require Congress to fully fund the VA’s discretionary budget a year ahead of schedule, ensuring that all VA services will have timely, predictable funding. H.R. 806, a bill introduced by Rep. Julia Brownley (California-26) that makes GAO reports on VA’s budgets and funding permanent, was also considered at today’s hearing.

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