The House approved a bill Tuesday that seeks to end waits for federal financing of veterans' health care programs, The New York Times reports.
The delay in funding has disrupted services through the Department of Veterans Affairs for decades.
"Officials say that for 19 of the last 22 years, the department's budget has been approved late, usually because of fiscal wrangling on Capitol Hill. As a result, veterans' groups and officials say, the directors of veterans' health care centers and clinics have often been unable to proceed on time with new services, staff expansions or renovations."
"Under current rules, if a new budget is not in place by the start of the federal fiscal year on Oct. 1, the Department of Veterans Affairs is required to operate on its previous year's budget. Often, those budgets have lacked money to pay for even existing programs because of inflation, contractual increases and growing caseloads."
"In addition, the House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that appropriates $48.2 billion for veterans’ medical care in the 2011 fiscal year" (Dao, 6/23).