"The President's support of this advance appropriation act truly honors the service and sacrifice of our nation's disabled veterans and their families," said Commander Barrera. "His support for this initiative throughout the 2008 election campaign and as President has improved health care delivery to veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)."
The law, signed Oct. 22, 2009, authorizes Congress to fund VA health care one year in advance at the start of each fiscal year. It effectively ends the funding delays that have plagued the VA and forced it to ration health care to veterans when Congress failed to pass an appropriations bill on time.
The commemorative DAV baseball bat was presented to President Obama by Commander Barrera, accompanied by DAV National Adjutant Arthur H. Wilson and National Headquarters Executive Director Richard E. Patterson.
"President Obama's continuing support in the recently proposed $125 billion VA budget will provide expanded health care to a record number of veterans and includes $60.3 billion for discretionary spending, mostly for health care," said Commander Barrera. "That is nearly $4.2 billion more than the fiscal year 2010 appropriated level." The budget request includes advance appropriations recommendations of $54.3 billion for medical care programs for fiscal year 2012.
"This is one of the greatest victories for veterans in the history of the DAV," said Adjutant Wilson. "President Obama never gave up. He worked diligently, always keeping the benefits of our veterans in mind, and continues to do so in the current proposed budget."
"We are deeply grateful to President Obama for his support of our nation's veterans," Barrera said. "This commemorative baseball bat is a small token of our appreciation for going to bat for veterans."
President Obama discussed a number of important issues with the DAV delegation, particularly the logjam of veterans' benefits claims and said the VA is working on the problem. He also talked about his administration's efforts to address the problem of homeless veterans and improved job opportunities for veterans.
The 1.2 million-member Disabled American Veterans, a non-profit organization founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932, represents this nation's disabled veterans. It is dedicated to a single purpose: building better lives for our nation's disabled veterans and their families. For more information, visit the organization's Web site www.dav.org.