Democrats propose increasing VA budget by $1.42 billion

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Democrat and Republican senators this week suggested measures to fill a $1.5 billion healthcare budget deficit at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Democrats led by Sens. Robert Byrd (D-WV) and Patty Murray (D-WA) Wednesday offered an amendment to the Department of Interior's spending bill that would add $1.42 billion in funding to the VA's 2006 budget. Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, along with Sens. Rick Santorum (R-PA), Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) were also expected to propose adding $1.5 billion more to the VA's budget for 2005.

"The $1.5 billion we will be seeking for this fiscal year should provide the VA with more than enough to backfill the VA's current needs under the 2005 budget and carry over more money into 2006," Craig said during a hearing on June 28.

Craig also said he also plans to work with the VA to develop a better budgeting model.