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Capitol Health Call
November 8, 2006

VA Funding Disputed

JAMA. 2006;296(18):2194. doi:10.1001/jama.296.18.2194-c

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is facing a $3 billion shortfall, partly because it used prewar data to estimate costs for caring for returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan, a Government Accountability Office report found (http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d06958.pdf#search=%22gao-06-958%22).

The report was requested by Democrats and released on September 21. Sen Patty Murray (D, Wash) said that the Bush administration had failed to plan for meeting the needs of troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and that the report showed that the VA had misled Congress for 6 months on the budget problems. Sen Larry Craig (R, Idaho), chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, defended the VA, saying the administration and his committee quickly addressed any fiscal discrepancies once they became known. He called Murray's position simple political posturing for the mid-term elections in November.