Obama to Advance Funding to Veterans’ Medical Programs

By Lindsey Ellerson

Oct 22, 2009 12:43pm

ABC News' Jordyn Phelps reports:

President Obama is honoring a campaign promise today by signing the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act into law.

The legislation will guarantee “a timely and predictable flow of funding for the Department of Veteran Affairs medical care,” according to White House spokesman Nick Shapiro.

Funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs has been late in getting approved by Congress in 20 of the last 23 years, which has affected the planning of veterans’ health care programs. The legislation would advance funding for these medical programs by one year ahead of the fiscal year. The advance funding will ensure that the VA can depend on receiving funding for these programs on time and that they will not be affected by politicking on Capitol Hill.

In a letter to the president of the American Federation of Government Employees in October 2008, then-Senator Obama promised that, if elected, his administration would support the legislation.

The legislation has been strongly supported by Democrats and Republicans in Congress alike.

In remarks early this month, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., described the 409 votes supporting the legislation in the House as a very, very strong bipartisan show of support.” Stephen Buyer, R-Ind., was the only representative to vote no to the legislation in the House.

The president will deliver brief remarks in the East Room of the White House this afternoon when he signs the legislation into law.  He will be joined by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, members of Congress, and leaders from various veterans service organizations.

–Jordyn Phelps

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