What: All Issues : Health Care : Veterans and Active Military Personnel : S Con Res 18. Fiscal 2006 Budget Resolution/Vote to Increase Funding for Veterans' Health Care and Reduce the Federal Deficit. (2005 senate Roll Call 55)
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S Con Res 18. Fiscal 2006 Budget Resolution/Vote to Increase Funding for Veterans' Health Care and Reduce the Federal Deficit.
senate Roll Call 55     Mar 16, 2005
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Loss

Understaffed and overcrowded Veterans' Administration (VA) hospitals and clinics are becoming the norm in many areas of the country. Moreover, 200,000 veterans have been refused treatment in VA facilities since January 2003. To address these shortcomings, Senator Akaka (D-HI) introduced an amendment to the 2006 Budget Resolution which would have increased funding for veterans' health care by $2.8 billion and devoted an additional $2.8 billion to reduce the deficit. Progressives voted in favor of Akaka's proposal based on their view that the government has a duty to protect the health of veterans'. In the words of Senator Murray (D-WA), "when we ask our men and women to serve, we have to keep a commitment to them that we will be there to take care of them when they come home." Progressives also supported the goal of deficit reduction based on their view that the Bush Administration has been running dangerously high budget deficits in recent years, a consequence of a series of tax cuts without offsetting revenue increases. Conservatives voted against the Akaka amendment and instead supported a more modest funding increase of $410 million for veterans' health care proposed by Senator Ensign (R-NV). Ensign explained his opposition to Akaka's amendment as follows, "Some may ask: Why not the amount that the Democrats have proposed? Well, first, we are in tight budget times." Akaka's amendment was rejected on a 47-53 vote and the additional money for veterans' health care and deficit reduction was not included in the 2006 Budget Resolution.

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