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Pelosi: ’Congress Must Fully Fund Veterans’ Health Care Right Now’


WASHINGTON, July 15 -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today in response to another request by President Bush to fill the shortfall in funding for veterans’ health care. The new request would provide an additional $300 million for this year, on top of the $975 million that the Administration begrudgingly submitted two weeks ago, bringing the total amount for fiscal year 2005 to nearly $1.3 billion. The latest Administration request also contained an additional $1.7 billion for fiscal year 2006.

"Sadly, Republicans continue to fail our nation’s veterans. Their new request for next year is terribly inadequate - $1.5 billion short of what Democrats and veterans’ organizations have been calling for. Democrats and veterans have hit the mark time and time again on health care funding, while Republicans continue to lowball the budget, then adjust, readjust, and change the numbers.

"In order to make their latest numbers add up, President Bush again imposes new fees and prescription drug co-payments on our veterans. Making our veterans pay more for their health care is not the answer to the Republicans’ failed budgetary policies and misplaced priorities.

"Congress must fully fund veterans’ health care right now. Stop the games. End the manipulation of numbers. We are dealing with the lives of American heroes - the men and women who put their lives on the line for our nation. Our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan will come home and join the ranks of our veteran heroes. And they should not inherit the waiting lines, increased costs through co-pays and fees, and inadequate health care being created by Republicans.

“Veterans have given us their best, and they deserve only the best health care in return. Congress must fund veterans’ health care at the proper levels right now - the levels called for by Democrats and veterans themselves - by enacting an additional $1.5 billion for this year and $1.5 billion more than the President’s new request for next year.”


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