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IAVA Reacts to Veterans Affairs Budget, Details Still Being Revealed

NEW YORK (March 5, 2014) – President Obama yesterday unveiled a $163.9 billion budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in FY 2015, an overall 6.5 percent increase in spending from 2014 levels. Details of the proposal are still being analyzed, however IAVA offered this initial statement:

“IAVA is encouraged by the President’s continued investment in the Department of Veterans Affairs,” said IAVA’s Chief Policy Officer Tom Tarantino. “The proposed budget includes an overall increase of 6.5% in funding for the VA and invests in key priorities for new veterans, including expanding funding to improve mental health care, to strengthen women’s health services, to end the VA backlog and to modernize IT infrastructure. We appreciate this statement of support for our community from the President.”

Tarantino continued: “IAVA is disappointed, though, that the proposed budget does not meet the recommendations of the Independent Budget, a comprehensive budget authored and endorsed by leaders in the veteran and military community. The investments made through the President’s budget must translate into the results veterans and their families expect. Since this budget falls short of those investments recommended by the Independent Budget, we are concerned that even the increased funding may fall short of producing the change vets want at the VA.”

“The Administration must remain vigilant in modernizing the VA. This will require strong oversight, continued transformation and strong leadership from both the VA and Congress. In no area is this more apparent than in the VA backlog—which still stands at more than 375,000 claims,” Tarantino concluded.

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