Senate Approves Additional VA Appropriations for Budget Deficit
The Senate on Thursday voted 98-0 to approve a bill (HR 2528) that would authorize $83 billion in fiscal year 2006 appropriations for military construction projects and the Department of Veterans Affairs budget, including nearly $2 billion in emergency funding for VA health care programs, CQ Today reports.
The appropriations come in response to a Bush administration request to provide $3 billion to make up a VA health services budget shortfall. Combined with $1.5 billion added in July to the FY 2006 Interior-Environment appropriations bill (HR 2361), the VA appropriations bill brings the total emergency funding approved to address shortfalls in the VA health care budget to about $3.5 billion. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) said the funds slated for health care in the latest bill might be reduced in conference to bring the total approved health care appropriations more in line with the amount the Bush administration requested (Donnelly/Brower, CQ Today, 9/22).