Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.), chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced a bill (H.R. 6939) that would ensure timely funding for VA health care. It’s a companion measure to one we reported had been introduced on the Senate side. Filner, like his Senate counterpart Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), garnered bipartisan support for this legislation that Filner said in a Sept. 18 statement, offers “a historic new approach to guarantee that our veterans have access to comprehensive, quality health care that they deserve and have earned.” He declared that the Department of Veterans Affairs “for too many years … has had to make do with insufficient budgets resulting in restricted access for many veterans.” He praised the “great strides” Congress has made over the past two years, but he said this advance-funding legislation would enable Congress to “permanently reform the VA health care budget process in a commonsense way.”
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.