VA Gets Record Budget for FY 2004
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America's Veterans


WASHINGTON (Jan. 27, 2004) - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will receive a record budget of $64 billion for the current fiscal year, up $4.2 billion from the previous spending level.

"I'm grateful for President Bush's leadership in ensuring that VA can honor our nation's commitment to its veterans," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi. "I'm also appreciative of the support that Congress has shown when it comes to taking care of veterans."

The budget for fiscal year 2004, which began Oct. 1, 2003, comes as VA is putting the finishing touches on the administration's proposed budget for fiscal year 2005, which will be formally unveiled Feb. 2.

Among the major items in fiscal year 2004 budget are $28.4 billion (including $1.7 billion in collections) for health care, up $2.9 billion from the previous year, and $32.8 billion in benefits programs.

Other budgetary categories include:

  • $143.4 million for the National Cemetery Administration, an $11 million hike over last year, plus nearly $32 million in grants for state cemeteries;

  • Full funding to expedite the handling of veterans' claims for disability compensation and pensions - a total of $1 billion for all programs;

  • Nearly $176 million for health care and other programs to assist homeless veterans, an increase of over $22 million from fiscal year 2003;
  • $101 million to support state extended-care facilities, $3 million more than last year; and

  • $522 million for construction, plus the authority to transfer another $400 million to health care construction.
"This budget will ensure VA is able to meet the needs of the latest generation of combat vets who are now returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, while continuing to care for those from earlier conflicts," Principi said.