Senate subcommittee approves $2 billion for VA healthcare

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Policymakers are rising to the challenge to fill the massive budget deficit at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Senate Military Construction-VA Appropriations Subcommittee this week approved nearly $2 billion in emergency spending for veterans' healthcare programs for fiscal 2006. Approximately 14,000 veterans receive care in nursing homes.

VA officials testified in June that the budget deficit for healthcare programs could reach at least $1 billion in FY 2005 and $2.6 billion in FY 2006. Last week President Bush asked Congress for $1.98 billion to address the deficit. The Senate and House both passed measures in June for VA healthcare relief.