Sanders Increases Funding for Veterans, Community Health Centers, and Child Care in Budget Committee Resolution

WASHINGTON - The Senate Budget Committee today passed a budget resolution that substantially improves funding for veterans, community health centers, and child care. Sanders, a member of the Budget Committee as well as the Veterans' Affairs Committee, authored several provisions increasing funding in these areas and heralded the resolution's passage. The Budget Resolution provides a blueprint for subsequent federal spending bills next year.

WASHINGTON - The Senate Budget Committee today passed a budget resolution that substantially improves funding for veterans, community health centers, and child care. Sanders, a member of the Budget Committee as well as the Veterans' Affairs Committee, authored several provisions increasing funding in these areas and heralded the resolution's passage. The Budget Resolution provides a blueprint for subsequent federal spending bills next year. "For far too long, our nation's veterans have been shortchanged by the Bush Administration," said Sanders. "We can no longer turn our backs on the brave men and women returning from Iraq, Afghanistan and previous wars. The resolution passed today offers the strongest veterans' budget we have seen come out of the committee in many years." The resolution passed by the Budget Committee provides $3.5 billion more in funding for veterans' needs than the budget submitted by the President. Sanders was an outspoken advocate for increased veterans' funding and successfully passed an amendment that allows the Veterans' Affairs Committee to make a number of improvements in veterans programs, including increasing the grants for severely disabled veterans to adapt their homes and cars, increasing the veterans' burial benefit, and protecting veterans' annual disability cost of living adjustments from being cut. In addition, the committee's budget includes a $575 million increase requested by Sanders to fund the nation's Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers (FQHC). These centers provide primary health care for millions of Americans, regardless of their income or ability to pay. There are currently five FQHCs in Vermont, which provide services in seven counties at 18 local sites. "Community healthcare centers serve as a lifeline for millions of low-income Americans, particularly in rural areas," said Sanders. "This is a critical program in Vermont and throughout the country and I am very happy that we were able to approve additional funding to support their efforts." Sanders was also able to include an additional $5 billion in funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant program, a nationwide service that provides quality affordable child care and early education services. "A budget is more than just a long list of numbers," said Sanders, "It is a statement of our values and priorities as a nation. While there is a great deal more work to be done, the budget approved today by the committee is a big step in the right direction."