Below is the text of the letter:
September 25, 2006
Honorable George W. Bush
The White House
Dear Mr. President:
As your administration continues to formulate its FY 2008 budget submission, we write to request that you provide the necessary funding for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) health care system and related benefits programs. Unfortunately, we believe it is necessary to express our serious concern in this matter due to your administration’s record of under-funding the VA by at least $9 billion over the last 6 years. We are particularly concerned about veterans funding next year and in the future as your budget submission this year reduced veterans’ funding by $10 billion over the next 5 years.
Providing for our military veterans and their families is a continuing cost of war and should be an important component of our national defense policy. Indeed, President George Washington recognized this point, saying, "[t]he willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.” Mr. President, the time is right for your administration to change course and fully fund the VA, cease efforts to shift the costs of health care onto the backs of veterans, and finally recognize and implement the concept of ‘shared sacrifice’ with respect to the federal budget.
The wars in
Mr. President, during your tenure, health care waiting lines have increased, appointments and medical procedures delayed, more than 250,000 veterans have been turned away from entering the VA health care system, and disability and education claims backlogs have grown to unreasonable rates. Moreover, Congress has been forced to add billions of dollars in supplemental VA funding due to embarrassing funding shortfalls.
What we request of you and your administration is simple – provide funding in your FY 2008 budget submission to ensure that our servicemembers returning from
Without question, Mr. President, the federal budget is a reflection of national policies and ultimately a reflection of our moral priorities. Please join us in working to provide the necessary resources in the fiscal year 2008 budget to fully fund the VA and to take care of our veterans and their families.
Veterans Affairs Committee
Stephen F. Lynch
Member of Congress
197 House Democrats