22 October 2009

AFGE Thanks Congress, President Obama for Advance Funding for Department of Veterans Affairs

/PRNewswire/ -- The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), today, praised President Barack Obama for signing the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act which will provide advance funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

"This victory comes after years of advocating by AFGE and numerous veterans' organizations," said AFGE National President John Gage. "AFGE thanks President Obama for keeping his campaign promise to us and -- more importantly to America's veterans -- to guarantee advance funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs."

Present at the historic signing were AFGE National Secretary-Treasurer J. David Cox and Women's and Fair Practices National Vice President Augusta Thomas.

The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act authorizes Congress to approve veterans medical care funding one year in advance to better meet the anticipated demand for veterans health care services.

"The advanced funding will give the Department of Veterans Affairs up to a full year to plan for the most effective and efficient way of delivering medical care," said National Secretary Treasurer and retired VA nurse J. David Cox. "America's veterans deserve this. This is a step in the right direction for the agency."

"Congress also included a requirement that the GAO audit VA's budget projections," explained Women's and Fair Practices National Vice President Augusta Thomas. "This move will further stabilize an agency where the current system of politics-driven funding clearly was not working."

"We are happy to move onward into a new era for the VA," said NVAC President Alma Lee. "And we look forward to VA health care dollars being used for patient needs and adequate front line staffing, not for excessive executive bonuses and new layers of management."

AFGE represents 90 percent (185,000) of the VA employees in more than 170 locals with 40 percent of its overall members being veterans. AFGE understands the dedication and work veterans have put in for this country; it should not go unnoticed. This is a milestone victory that will ensure medical attention to those who have served this country. It also stops the delay on the purchase of medical equipment or the hiring of doctors and nurses.

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