Leahy Notches Budget Win For White River Junction VA Facility As Appropriations Committee Approves VA Appropriations Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday approved legislation to fund the Veterans Affairs Administration (VA), staving off “devastating” cuts proposed by the Trump Administration to a facility in Vermont and securing additional resources for Vermont veterans.  It was the first markup session on one of the 12 annual Appropriations bills that fund the government to be co-led by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in his new role as Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Leahy has slammed the “unbalanced priorities” in President Trump’s budget plan.  Leahy pointed out that the President’s budget proposal would have cut $22 million dollars from the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is headquartered in White River Junction, Vt.  Leahy was able to restore what he termed “these misguided cuts” to the Veterans Affairs Administration’s leading center on research and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Leahy said:  “This bill invests in our veterans, and it takes the opioid crisis seriously by supporting prevention and treatment efforts that address this crippling addiction.  I am especially glad this bill reverses the shortsighted and unbalanced cuts proposed by the Trump Administration proposed for the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in White River Junction.  This program will help rural providers gain access to evidence-based best practices for assisting veterans.”

The bill includes an additional $5 million more than fiscal year 2017 levels to help veterans suffering from the effects of toxic exposure, like the members of the Vermont National Guard who were exposed to fumes from burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The bill also supports the Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot initiative, which places an emphasis on advances in cancer research.  In 2016, then Vice President Biden came to Vermont at Leahy’s invitation to support the initiative. 

Leahy’s full statement can be found HERE and a full bill summary can be found HERE

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