Health Care, Children, Veterans are Big Winners in Budget
Sanders Helped Craft

Congress adopted a $2.9 trillion budget resolution for next year that includes provisions Senator Sanders secured to boost budgets for health care, veterans and children. A member of the Senate Budget Committee, Sanders added $575 million more than President Bush had budgeted to expand community health centers in Vermont and across the country.

Congress adopted a $2.9 trillion budget resolution for next year that includes provisions Senator Sanders secured to boost budgets for health care, veterans and children. A member of the Senate Budget Committee, Sanders added $575 million more than President Bush had budgeted to expand community health centers in Vermont and across the country. "Community health centers are incredibly effective in Vermont and across America in providing high-quality health care, low-cost prescription drugs, dental care, and mental health counseling in a very cost-effective way," Sanders said. He secureD the additional budget authority for the network of federally funded community health centers that, during the Bush administration, has struggled with growing demand but shrinking resources. If Congress appropriates all of the funds that have been budgeted, then new health centers would be created to serve an additional 4 million Americans. In Vermont, there are five health center networks that provide services in seven counties at 18 sites. Altogether, they serve about 10 percent of the state population. In the long term, Sanders hopes to establish health centers in every county in Vermont. The budget resolution, passed by the House and Senate on Thursday, includes other important provisions Sanders fought for in the budget committee.One creates a $5 billion reserve fund for childcare assistance under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program. Another $43.1 billion in discretionary spending is budgeted for veterans -- $3.6 billion more than Bush requested -- including the largest increase for veteran's medical care in U.S. history. The veterans increase was a top Sanders priority. He also helped create a reserve fund to boost medical care and disability benefits for wounded military personnel and veterans, expand eligibility for combat-related special compensation, expedite the disability claims process, and enhance educational benefits. Sanders also recently introduced the Comprehensive Veterans Benefits Improvement Act. Crafted with input from veterans and national veterans service organizations, the legislation would improve insurance, housing, pensions, health care and other benefits. "For way too many years, many in Washington have turned their backs on veterans and their families," Marvin Minkler of St. Johnsbury wrote in Friday's Times Argus. "Sen. Sanders has not. He has met with us. He has stood with us. He has listened to us. He has promised us he would help, and he has helped."