For complete information on the Independent Budget go to www.independentbudget.orgThis is the 16th year The Independent Budget has been developed by four veterans services organizations: AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. This document is the collaborative effort of a united veteran advocacy community that presents policy positions and budget recommendations on programs administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
We are extremely disappointed that the administration and Congress have gone forward with an FY 2002 VA budget that will barely fund the pending mandated wage increase for VA’s employees. VA’s FY 2002 budget can only mean the backlog of veterans’ benefits claims will grow and veterans health-care services will be rationed.
Once again, America’s armed forces are in action to assure our citizens’ right to live in freedom —and with freedom from fear. Today’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines are tomorrows’ veterans. Just as we provide for the common defense, we must provide for those who bear today’s battles. We expect the president and Congress to support a Department of Veterans Affairs that can meet veterans needs today while preparing for the veterans of the future. VA can do neither with the current budget shortfall; the administration and Congress must restore VA funding in the FY 2003 budget and appropriation.
America owes its freedom to its veterans. It is time to acknowledge the sacrifices they made and to honor our commitment to them. They answered their call to service long ago; now we must answer back by ensuring them a secure and stable future.
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