The Senate moved to increase funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs after learning the department would need an additional $1 billion for veterans healthcare this year. Sens. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Patty Murray (D-Wa.) offered an amendment Wednesday to the Department of Interior's spending bill that would increase VA funding by $1.42 billion for the current fiscal year. Today, Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) is expected to offer an amendment that would raise funding by $1.5 billion. The money would help the department meet its financial needs for the current fiscal year and carry money over to fiscal 2006, which begins Oct. 1, Craig said in a news release. The VA budget shortfall stemmed from poor budget forecasting and additional costs incurred from soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, department officials said last week. The House on Tuesday rejected 217-189 a similar move by Democrats to increase funding for VA healthcare. -- by Tony Fong
Senators move to increase VA healthcare funding
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