August 1, 2008
By a vote of 409-4 the House today passed legislation funding the Department of Veterans Affairs for FY 2009. The bill (HR 6599) includes $3.8 billion for mental illness treatment and $584 million for substance abuse treatment in the VA, significant increases over current year funding. Overall, the Veterans Health Administration budget is set at $40.8 billion for FY 2009 -- $1.6 billion more than the President requested and $3.9 billion more than current levels. It is projected that the VA will serve 5.8 million veterans in 2009.
For homeless veterans, HR 6599 allocates $130 million for the homeless grants and per diem program, rejecting a proposal from the Bush Administration to cut the program by $8 million. This allocation also includes $32 million to hire additional personnel as part of the joint HUD-VA "VASH" program for veterans
The bill also includes $500 million for medical research at the VA, $38 million more than the President requested and $20 million more than was allocated in FY 2008. A full summary of HR 6599 can be found here.
With House action on the VA spending bill, Congress has now adjourned for its summer recess and will not return to