Blumenthal Statement on Senate Approval of Legislation Funding Veterans Services, Healthcare

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, issued the following statement after the Senate unanimously approved the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations (MilCon-VA) legislation by a vote of 93-0:

“I am proud that the Senate today passed a funding bill for the Department of Veterans Affairs that recognizes the nation’s responsibility to appropriately support veterans. The previous version of this bill contained serious, egregious shortfalls.  This measure, fortunately, is a profoundly important step toward addressing the needs of our veterans and keeping faith with them. It includes an additional $2.17 billion from the initial version that the Appropriations Committee passed earlier this year, which will help support a number of important programs for veterans, such as Hepatitis C treatment, caregiver supports, and State extended care facilities. I am pleased that the bill includes amendments that I helped lead including funding for toxic exposure research, offering gender appropriate prostheses to veterans, and ensuring accountability regarding senior executives.”

Ranking Member Blumenthal helped lead three amendments included in the approved legislation that:

•             Ensures support for research and procurement for gender specific prostheses;

•             Prioritizes funding for research related to toxic exposures;

•             Prevents VA from utilizing a relocation program that VA senior executives have previously inappropriately used to benefit employees rather than to better serve veterans.