Idaho Examiner - Sen. Larry Craig News Releases

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Contact: Jeff Schrade 202-224-9093


Secretary Jim Nicholson to testify along with Veterans Service Organizations
(Washington, DC) Chairman Larry Craig (R-Idaho) announced today the full witness list for tomorrow's hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs on the President's proposed budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The hearing will be held in room 418 of the Russell Senate Office Building, Tuesday, February 15, starting at 10 a.m. and webcast live at: It may also be available - audio-only - on the C-SPAN website for committee hearings, located at

The White House has requested a record $70.8 billion in the fiscal year 2006 budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Of that $33.4 billion is for discretionary funding - most of it, $28.2 billion, is targeted for health care. Another $37.4 billion is for mandatory funding - mostly for compensation, pension and other benefit programs.
Should Congress approve the budget proposal, the VA reports that funding for veterans health care will have increased by 47 percent since President Bush took office. Despite those record increases, several veterans organizations issued a press release last week calling for $31.2 billion in funding for veterans' health care during 2006 - an increase of $3 billion over the White House' proposal.

Among those testifying will be:
Panel I - Veterans Administration
The Honorable Jim Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, accompanied
* The Honorable Daniel L. Cooper, Under Secretary for Benefits;
* Jonathan B. Perlin, M.D., Acting Under Secretary for Health;
* Mr. Richard A. Wannemaker, Acting Under Secretary for Memorial
* The Honorable Tim McClain, General Counsel; and
* Ms. Rita A. Reed, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget.
Panel II - Veterans Service Organizations
* Mr. Peter S. Gaytan, Principal Deputy Director, Veterans Affairs
and Rehabilitation, The American Legion
* Mr. Dennis M. Cullinan, Director, National Legislative Service,
Veterans of Foreign Wars
* Mr. Joseph A. Violante, National Legislative Director, Disabled
American Veterans
* Mr. Richard B. Fuller, National Legislative Director, Paralyzed
Veterans of America
* Mr. Richard Jones, National Legislative Director, AMVETS.


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