Washington, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-Westlake Village) included her bill, the Veterans Healthcare Improvement Act, into the Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 2013, which passed through the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee with bipartisan support. Brownley’s bill would guarantee adequate resources for veterans’ health care benefits.

“Today’s action is an important step to ensure America’s veterans always receive their health benefits in a timely and efficient manner,” said Congresswoman Julia Brownley. “It is our duty to make certain that the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has the resources it needs to provide the health care our veterans earned and deserve.”

In February, Brownley introduced the Veterans Healthcare Improvement Act which would extend the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reporting requirement which verifies the accuracy of the Department of Veterans Affairs health care budget. Just last month, the House VA Committee held a hearing on this legislation where several veterans’ service organizations rallied behind it.

In his testimony, Carl Blake, National Legislative Director of Paralyzed Veterans of America, emphasized that extending the reporting requirement of GAO on VA advance appropriations reflects an explicit recommendation made in The Independent Budget for FY 2014 (co-authored by PVA, AmVets, Disabled American Veterans, and Veterans of Foreign Wars). These four organizations fully endorse Rep. Browley’s legislation.

Following the hearing, Brownley and her colleagues came to a bi-partisan agreement to extend the GAO reporting requirement by three years. This agreement was included into the Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 2013 that passed today. This bill, which includes Brownley’s legislation, goes to the full House for consideration.

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