The Senate has passed the Fiscal 2007 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriation Act, providing nearly $9 billion above the amount allocated to VA last year, said Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), head of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Of the $78 billion for the VA, $38 billion would go to compensation and pensions, an increase of $4.11 billion over the 2006 enacted amount. VA’s medical services stands to receive $28.69 billion, up $4.51 billion from 2006. Craig noted, “These large increases cannot continue forever, but we have made a large improvement for veterans in the past few years.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.