IAVA Supports VA Budget Request But Calls for More Accountability
President’s FY17 request would increase VA budget by 8.8%
WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 10, 2016) – President Obama yesterday unveiled his administration’s fiscal year 2017 budget proposal, which includes $182.3 billion for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The final budget of his presidency would grow the department’s budget by 8.8 percent over its $167.5 billion FY16 budget.
“While budget increases are needed, they will not fix things alone,” said Paul Rieckhoff, Founder and CEO of IAVA. “We’ve had budget increases for the last 10 years but that hasn’t repaired the VA. Leadership, budget flexibility and execution are all critical. At the same time, the administration must remain vigilant in modernizing and bringing more accountability to the VA. This will require strong oversight, continued transformation and leadership from the VA, Congress and veteran service organization watchdogs like IAVA.”
The proposed budget invests in key priorities for veterans including Secretary McDonald’s ‘MyVA’ plan, to transform the VA and end the VA claims backlog, and a provision for funds for homeless veterans reintegration. It also invests critical funds to improve healthcare for women veterans, the fastest growing segment of the veteran population. And, as the one year anniversary of the signing of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act approaches on Friday, IAVA is also encouraged that more funding is being proposed to address the staggering suicide rate among our veteran men and women.