Rep. Michaud calls for action on full VA budget
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a hearing that examined the impacts of a federal government shutdown on benefits and services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, who was the only witness at the hearing, provided testimony detailing the latest impacts of the shutdown on the VA and veterans. His testimony can be found here.
“This shutdown is unacceptable and must end. Washington’s brinksmanship cannot be allowed to threaten payments to our veterans. Unfortunately, as we heard from Secretary Shinseki today, that’s exactly what will happen in late October if funding is not approved. This mess can be fixed quickly in one of two ways. The Senate could pass the bipartisan, House-passed VA and military construction funding bill, or the House could take up the clean CR passed by the Senate. The House, Senate and White House should come to an agreement on moving one of these bills. I don’t care which we choose as long as we get on with re-opening the government and fully funding the VA,” said committee Ranking Member Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME).
During the hearing today Michaud highlighted a letter he co-signed with Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), the chairman of the committee, calling on Speaker John Boehner to bring H.R. 813 to the House floor for a vote. Miller and Michaud introduced H.R. 813, which requires Congress to fully fund the VA’s discretionary budget a year ahead of schedule, ensuring that VA services will have timely and predictable funding and be protected from future congressional budget battles. Currently, only VA’s medical accounts receive advanced appropriations.
The text of Michaud’s opening statement from today’s hearing can be found here.