February 15, 2001

Magda Lynn Seymour
Diane S. Witiak
(202) 639-6419

AFGE Endorses Independent Budget for America's Veterans

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)—In pursuit of continued quality medical care to our nation’s veterans, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) has endorsed the Independent Budget to be released by a coalition of veterans’ groups on Feb. 20, 2001.

“Our union represents Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) nurses, doctors and other health caregivers that heal, treat, care for, bathe and feed veterans,” said Bobby L. Harnage, AFGE National President. “These federal employees also tend to the emotional and physical wounds of war that still affect the men and women who served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf War.”

The Independent Budget calls for $25.8 billion for medical care for veterans to correct the problems caused from years of flat-line budgets.

“Understaffing and underfunding has meant shameful delays in scheduling medical appointments, backlogs in veterans’ claims for benefits and denying veterans access to care because DVA does not have the staff or the beds for them,” Harnage added.

“Independent Budget allies point to the dangers posed to veterans by creeping privatization efforts,” Harnage said. “AFGE stands with veterans service groups in support of the Independent Budget and against those who would dismantle the DVA either through withering budgets or through privatization,” Harnage concluded.

The American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, is the largest union for government employees, representing 600,000 federal workers in the United States and overseas, as well as employees of the District of Columbia. AFGE represents some 125,000 DVA employees nationwide. For more information, visit AFGE’s Web site at


The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia. For the latest AFGE news and information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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