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SUBMITTED PURSUANT TO SECTION 301 OF THE
CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ACT OF 1974
FEBRUARY 14, 1992.-Printed for the use of the Committee on Veterans'
Affairs of the House of Representatives
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1992
For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS
G.V. (SONNY) MONTGOMERY, Mississippi, Chairman DON EDWARDS, California, Vice Chairman BOB STUMP, Arizona DOUGLAS APPLEGATE, Ohio
JOHN PAUL HAMMERSCHMIDT, Arkansas LANE EVANS, Illinois
CHALMERS P. WYLIE, Ohio
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
MICHAEL BILIRAKIS, Florida
THOMAS J. RIDGE, Pennsylvania CLAUDE HARRIS, Alabama
CRAIG JAMES, Florida JOSEPH P. KENNEDY, II, Massachusetts CLIFF STEARNS, Florida ELIZABETH J. PATTERSON, South Carolina BILL PAXON, New York GEORGE E. SANGMEISTER, Illinois
FLOYD SPENCE, South Carolina BEN JONES, Georgia
DICK NICHOLS, Kansas JILL L. LONG, Indiana
RICHARD JOHN SANTORUM, Pennsylvania DOUGLAS “PETE" PETERSON, Florida CHET EDWARDS, Texas MAXINE WATERS, California BILL K. BREWSTER, Oklahoma OWEN B. PICKETT, Virginia PETE GEREN, Texas BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
MacK FLEMING, Staff Director and Chief Counsel
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Washington, DC, February 14, 1992
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Enclosed is a copy of our recommendations to the Budget Committee on proposed levels of spending authority for veterans benefits and services for fiscal year 1993.
We propose an increase of $730.6 million above the amount requested by the Administration for discretionary accounts within our committee's jurisdiction. This amount includes $410.6 million for veterans' medical care, $198.1 million for medical facility construction, and $20 million for medical and prosthetic research. This amount also includes $50.9 million to improve claims processing and counseling for veterans seeking benefits, $3 million for the National Cemetery System, and an additional $31.2 million for Department of Labor discretionary accounts.
We believe it is a fair proposal. We can certainly justify a higher amount in discretionary spending, but given the budget deficit, we have proceeded with some caution. Nevertheless, it is ironic to note that even the Administration's proposed addition of $1 billion for medical care will create a further decline in service to veterans. A recent committee survey, reviewing a system which received a similar funding increase for FY 1992, found that even at this early point in the fiscal year, most VA medical centers are restricting access to care and cutting services to veterans. Similarly, the Administration's proposed addition of $25 million for claims processing and counseling falls far short of the funding level required to maintain VA's current level of services, which is well below minimum standards of acceptability.
With regard to the Administration's legislative proposals, OMB estimates that the net effect of all these proposals is a cut in budget authority for veterans programs of $912 million in fiscal year 1993. This would be a substantial cut in veterans programs and is not acceptable to the committee.
Finally, we urge the committee to consider the needs of our veterans should a so-called peace dividend be considered by your committee. Enclosed is a copy of our letter to the Majority and Minority Leaders setting out our views and where the most critical needs are. It is important to keep in mind that the warriors who helped preserve the peace should be the primary beneficiaries of any peace dividend.
We would be pleased to discuss our recommendations with you or your staff at your convenience. Sincerely,
G.V. (SONNY) MONTGOMERY,
Ranking Minority Member. Enclosures
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
Washington, DC, February 4, 1992
DEAR MR. LEADER: There has recently been a great deal of discussion regarding possible reductions in the Defense budget and a resulting redirection of those funds to domestic programs. Although many alternative uses for these monies have been mentioned in the media by the leadership in both Houses and on both sides of the aisle, the most deserving, appropriate group to benefit from a defense reduction has not been discussed—that is, the men and women who, through honorable and distinguished service in our nation's Armed Forces, now find themselves having to leave active duty without jobs and without training for the few jobs that are available to them.
Because of the sacrifices, dedication, and commitment of those who—past, present, and future-stand ready to serve the United States during times of war and peace, we now have the opportunity to debate what should be done with the "peace dividend." In interview after interview during the Persian Gulf War, young soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines cited the opportunity to earn educa