tv [untitled] CSPAN June 23, 2009 12:30pm-1:00pm EDT
to submit information for the 2012 budget. each yullstherk -- each july, the v.a. will be required to report to congress if it has the funds it needs to do their job, to prevent them from facing a shortfall as it did a few years ago. we look to our colleagues on the appropriations committee to provide the dollars. i want to express our thanks to our colleague vet ed cards -- edwards for providing advance funding for the v.a. medical care accounts for 2011. . to provide an 8% increase for that year above the historic 2010 levels. chairman obey i want to thank also and chairman spratt of the budget committee for including advance appropriations language in his budget resolution. all of us working together have succeeded in providing veterans
with their top legislative priority. they spoke and we listened. i ask the rest of the house to join us in support of this bill, h.r. 1016, which passed unanimously from the veterans' affairs committee last week. thank you, mr. speaker. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from arkansas. mr. boozman: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in strong support of h.r. 1016, as amended, a bill that would authorize appropriations for several veterans health care accounts a year in advance beginning with fiscal year 2011. i also thank chairman filner for bringing this bill forward. and trying to solve a problem that we have had over -- in the past. the goal of the bill is to provide an increased level of fiscal certainty regarding operations of the v.a. hospital system. by funding the accounts for medical services, medical support and compliance, medical
facilities, information technology systems, and medical and prosthetic research the department of veterans affairs should be able to manage its health care personnel needs and day to day operations. i would note that the last three accounts that i mentioned were included in the bill by an amendment offered by the ranking member, mr. buyer, and adopted by the full committee. adding these accounts has improved the bill by providing more complete medical funding needs. advanced funding alone will not solve the v.a.'s ability to provide quality medical care. without accurate predictive data, advanced appropriations will not necessarily provide the right amount of funding that v.a. needs to operate its health care system. therefore the bill also contains provisions that require a combination reports and analysis to determine the quality of the data v.a. will
be using in its financial model to determine funding needs. mr. speaker, this bill while not a perfect solution is a very reasonable way to allow the advanced funding concept to be tested in practice and i urge all of my colleagues to support h.r. 1016 as amended, and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. mr. filner: thank you, mr. speaker. i would like to recognize the gentlelady from illinois, mrs. halvorson, for three minutes. she's a new member of our committee and of this congress, but she's add add dynamic element to our deliberations. we thank her for her commitment to veterans. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from illinois is recognized. mrs. halvorson: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise in support of h.r. 1016, the veterans health care budget reform and transparency act of 2009, which was introduced under the leadership of the
chairman of the committee of of veterans' affairs, mr. filner. i want to thank mr. filner and subcommittee on health care chairman, mr. me show, for the great leader -- michaud, for the great leadership on this issue. the veterans' affairs health care system includes 153 medical centers with a facility in each state, puerto rico, and the district of columbia. almost 5.5 million people received care in the v.a. health care facilities in 2008 and v.a.'s outpatient clinics registered over 60 million visits. this is one of the largest health care providers in the country. however in fiscal year 2009 for only the third time in the past 20 years v.a. received its budget prior to the start of the new fiscal year. it isn't reasonable to expect that one of the largest, fastest growing health care providers in the country can
operate in a most efficient and effective manner if they don't know what their bubts -- budgets will be. the current budget process continues to hamper and threaten v.a. health care delivery. when v.a. does not receive its funding in a timely manner, it is forced to ration its care. so much needed medical staff cannot be hired, equipment cannot be procured, waiting times increase, and the quality of care suffers. h.r. 1016 will solve be many of these problems and -- solve many of these problems and fund the v.a. one year in advance. it will allow the v.a. to spend money more efficiently while at the same time providing better and more comprehensive care for our veterans. h.r. 1016 will make sure that the v.a. has the resources that it needs in a timely manner so that it can provide quality care without having to question
what funds will be available next month. i'm here today in an attempt to serve our veterans' best interest and to fight to make sure they receive the best care possible. to that end i stand in favor of h.r. 1016 and strongly urge my colleagues to vote yes. i thank the chairman and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from arkansas is recognized. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. speaker. i continue to reserve my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves his time. the gentleman from california. mr. filner: mr. speaker, i would yield three minutes to another new member from new mexico, mr. teeing, he's also -- mr. teague, he's also on a committee that has half of our committee has new members, they have add add real element of dynamism. we thank him for his commitment. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new mexico is recognized for three minutes. mr. teague: i rise today in support of h.r. 1016, the veterans health care budget
reform and transparency act of 2009. i would like to thank the distinguished gentleman from california, bob filner, for introducing this bill. i'm happy to be a co-sponsor of this legislation. it is through his leadership as chairman of the committee on veterans' affairs that we will finally be able to make advanced appropriations. v.a.'s health budget a reality. i simply do not believe that it is right that we have lapsed in our care for our veterans when they have never lapsed in the defense ever our country. i do -- defense of our country. i do not think it's right that out of the last 22 budgets we have passed for the v.a., 19this been late. our veterans serve our country and provided the security we often take for granted and we owe them quality health care. without a predict able and on time funding source, it is difficult or impossible for the v.a. to provide our veterans with the high level of health
care that -- and service that is they deserve. that is why i led 50 members of congress to demand a provision allowing for the advance appropriations in the fiscal year 2010 budget. and we were fortunate enough to convince the budget conference committee to support it. as a result of allowing for advanced appropriation in the budgets, tomorrow the appropriations committee will hold a hearing on the military construction and v.a. spending bill that contains $48.2 billion in advanced appropriations for the v.a. for fiscal year 2011. this represents a 15% increase over fiscal year 2009 levels and a step in the right direction for veterans health care. many people have compared advanced appropriations to a family budget. a family needs to know how much their income is before they know what they can spend. i think that about sums up why we need this bill. i think it's about common sense and being responsible. as the business man i never tried to make a purchase
without knowing what my budget was going to be. i had to plan ahead and have a road map for all of the company's finances. because the v.a. is a direct provider of services, they need to have the same ability to plan ahead. it's about delivering a quality product. i urge my colleagues to take this giant step in improving the v.a.'s ability to deliver quality health care services to our nation's veterans. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from arkansas. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. speaker. i continue to reserve my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves his time of the the gentleman from california, mr. filner. mr. filner: mr. speaker, mr. hare of illinois came to us as the successor of a legendary member of our committee, mr. lane evans, who worked so hard for veterans during his whole career. our thoughts are with him as he faces his disease. mr. hare was on our committee. he had to go off this year, but
we miss him greatly. he's one of the strongest leaders for veterans in our nation. i yield to him as much time as he may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. hare -- excuse me, from illinois, is recognized. mr. hare: thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in strong support of h.r. 1016, the veterans health care budget reform and transparency act of 2009. let me thank chairman bob filner for introducing this important legislation. in the 110th congress we gave the v.a. its largest funding increase in 77 years and we did it on time. but sadly punctual v.a. funding has not always been the case. the v.a. received its annual funding for health care programs late in the last 19 of 22 years. this record of tardiness is deplorable. with the ongoing wars in iraq and afghanistan, the time to fix this broken system is now. late funding is more than a missed deadline. it is a veteran with
posttraumatic stress disorder who cnot access the treatment he or she needs. is an injured hero who must wait for a prosthetic. it is a v.a. in disarray at a time when our wounded warriors are counting more than ever on the services. that's why in the last congress i inintroduced the assured funding for the veterans health care act. this bill would have replaced the funding for veterans health care with permanent direct spending authority. like the bill introduced, advanced appropriations is the means to that end. that end is ensuring veterans receive the best possible care from a v.a. that has access to timely, sufficient and predictible resources. the legislation that we are considering today will do just that. it will allow the v.a. to effectively budget and manage its health care programs and services, meaning it can hire the appropriate number of doctors, nurses, clinicians, and support staff to meet the demand for high quality care for our veterans.
anything less is unacceptable. i'd also like to acknowledge and commend chairman david obey and -- for putting in an advanced appropriation for v.a. health care in the fiscal year 2010 military construction and veterans appropriations bill. i enthusiastically support h.r. 1016, and i once again want to thank chairman filner for drafting a bill that would ensure the v.a. has sufficient, timely, and predictible funding. mr. speaker, i urge all my colleagues to support this legislation. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from arkansas. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. speaker. having no more speakers on the bill, i continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves his time. the gentleman from california. mr. filner: we have no further speakers. i would conclude if you yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from arkansas. mr. boozman: since the gentleman has no more speakers, again i would ask that my colleagues vote for this bill. i appreciate mr. filner's hard
work on the bill. i think it's a great step in the right direction. and then also i'd like to thank ranking member buyer for offering a good amendment that i think helped the bill also. with that urging adoption i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from arkansas yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from california. mr. filner: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on h.r. 1016, as amended. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. filner: mr. speaker, i think as we approach the july 4 holiday, this is an appropriate way to say thank you to our nation's veterans. as i said earlier, this is one of the most significant steps if not a revolutionary step taken for veterans and the budgeting process. this will assure that one of the largest health systems in the world if not the largest will have in fact funding available on time and in the
need that is required for our nation's veterans. so i urge my colleagues to unanimously support this bill, h.r. 1016, as amended. and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california yields back the balance of his time. the question is, will the house suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1016, as amended. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, 2/3 of those voting having responded in the affirmative, the rules -- the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. thompson: thank you. mr. speaker, while i support the purpose of this bill, i object to the vote on the grounds a quorum is not present and make a point of order a quorum is not present. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20 and the chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? mr. filner: mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass the bill h.r. 1211 as amended.
the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: h.r. 1211, a bill to amend title 38 united states code to expand and improve health care services available to women veterans, especially those serving in operation enduring freedom, and operation iraqi freedom from the department of veterans affairs, and for other purposes. . the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from california, mr. filner and the gentleman from arkansas, mr. boozman, each will control 20 minutes. the gentleman from california. mr. filner: i yield myself such time as i might consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. filner: this is a critically important piece of legislation that improves the resources available for women veterans through the department of veterans affair. it will be explained in greater
detail by ms. herseth sandlin, and for her steadfast commitment to helping women veterans. we have a round table at our full committee which we had representatives and women's veterans from all around the country. it was a searing kind of testimony which revealed serious weaknesses in the culture of the v.a. the v.a. health care, after all, was built to accommodate the war-related illnesses and injuries of male veterans. the increased percentage of female veterans that has been occurring and especially with the war in iraq and afghanistan has led many veterans, women veterans, to say that we need some changes. in the culture of the v.a. women walk through the lobbies of v.a. hospitals and are given
cat calls. they are not -- there are not sufficient women doctors available for the women veterans who want them. the male doctors don't seem, yet, to have the respect for the sacrifice of women veterans. there's one woman who testified -- who had an amputation of one arm from combat. when she showed up at the doctor's office, he just assumed it was lost from something else like cancer. he didn't even think this could be a combat-related injury. we can go on and on. but we need to change the culture and change the behavior and change the resources available. that's what this bill by ms. herseth sandlin starts to do. there are about 1.8 million women veterans today to, or 7% of the nearly 24 million veterans we serve. assuming that the current enrollments remain the same, the number of female veterans who use the v.a. system will double in the next five years,
making female veterans one of the fastest growing subgroups of veterans. in this environment of changing demographics, h.r. 1211 has the potential to improve health care services for women veterans. i urge my colleagues to support the legislation and reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from arkansas. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in support of h.r. 1211, a bill to amend title 38, united states code, to expand and improve health care services available to women's veterans from the department of veterans affairs and for other purposes. i appreciate the gentlelady from south dakota, ms. herseth sandlin's, hard work on this bill in bringing this forward. throughout history, women have played a vital role in our
national defense. currently, women make up about 8% of the total veteran population and the v.a. estimates that by 2020, women veterans will comprise about 10% of the veteran population. women are the fastest growing segment of the veteran population and it's essential to make sure that v.a. is providing specialized programs and services to meet their unique physical and mental health needs. i want to thank again my good friend and colleague, the gentlelady from south dakota, for introducing this legislation and i am pleased to have joined with her as an original co-sponsor for h.r. 1211. this would expand and improve benefits for our female veterans, especially the newest generation of women veterans serving in iraq and afghan statue of liberty -- and afghanistan. this bill will assess the
services currently provided and develop a plan to better meet their needs. in the past five year, there has been a 30% increase in the number of women veterans of childbearing age enrolling in the v.a. health care system. h.r. 1211 as amended would aid this population by authorizing v.a. to provide care to newborns of women veterans receiving maternity care through v.a. additionally, it would establish a pilot program to provide child care assistance for certain qualified veterans while they're receiving care at the v.a. recognizing that the largest number of women veterans are serving in operation enduring freedom and operation iraqi freedom, the bill would also ensure that recently separated women veterans have a voice on the advisory committee of women's veterans and minority veterans. i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 1211 as amended.
i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from arkansas reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from california. mr. filner: i'm proud to recognize the gentlelady from south dakota, ms. herseth sandlin, for as much time as she may consume, she is the author of this very, very important piece of legislation. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from south dakota. ms. herseth sandlin: i rise in strong support of h.r. 1211, the women vess veterans health care improvement act, which the full committee approved on june 10. i would like to thank chairman filner, ranking member buyer, subcommittee chairman michaud and subcommittee ranking member brown for their leadership on this bill as well as my colleague on the subcommittee of economic opportunity, mr. boozman of arkansas, for co-sponsoring this important legislation. i'd also like to take a moment to give special recognition to chairman filner for his
leadership on this very important issue. he had mentioned the round table the full committee hosted, his brain child, to bring all of the women who represent different veterans' service organizations and women veterans themselves to speak to their experiences and to better inform and educate committee members about the extraordinary circumstances that they have faced time and time again as they have sought care in v.a. medical centers. so i was extremely pleased to introduce this important legislation on february 26, 2009, proud to -- proud of the bipartisan support that legislation has garnered and the round table discussion hosted by chairman filner illustrated even further the -- how imperative the passage of this bill is for our women veterans b. i discuss the bill in greater detail and the needs of women veterans, i would like to take this opportunity for
the -- to thank the disabled american veterans for their work, and i want to thank kathy and the rest of her team for the great work that they have done on the health subcommittee. kathy and her staff did excellent work in assisting with this legislation and shepherding it through the legislative process. today, women make up approximately 8% of veterans in the united states that percentage will continue to rise as more and more women answer the call to duty to serve their country. with an increasing number of women seeking access to care for a diverse range of medical conditions, the challenge of providing adequate health care services f women veterans is one the v.a. must meet. unfortunately, services in v.a. facilities often fall short of properly providing for the health care needs of women there is too much fragment athes of care and not enough clinicians with the current training and experience. child care considerations
aren't being met adequately for male or female veterans and currently, the v.a. does not cover care for the newborn child of an eligible veteran. to answer these challenges and others, h.r. 1211, takes a number of important steps to help the v.a. provide the services and care our women veterans need and sets the v.a. on a path to better care in the future. h.r. 1211 authorizes the v.a. to conduct two important studies. first they study barriers to health care women veterans experience. it will examine the full range of barriers, including the lack of comprehensive primary care, the sensitivity of providers regarding gender-specific issues, the stigma of seeking mental health assistance. the second is a comprehensive study of the women's health
program with the goal to improve services at every v.a. medical center and it works to improve the sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder help for women. it will ensure that all medical officials have been properly trained to help women veterans. women bhoff suffered such attacks have suffered enough. they need to know that every v.a. mental health professional is ready to help them and can make them feel secure in seeking treatment. child care concerns have emerged as a crucial issue for women veterans seeking care. sometimes veterans without access to child care are forced to forego important health care components h.r. 1211 authorizes a child care program for patients and requires the v.a.
to carry out the study in at least three veterans service networks. possible solutions include stipends for private child care centers and collaboration with other federal agencies that have similar programs. h.r. 1211 requires the v.a. oto provide seven days of medical care for the newborn children of veterans. 86% of operation enduring freedom and operation iraqi freedom veterans are under the age of 40, and this represents an important update of v.a. policy. finally, the bill requires the v.a. to have women and norltes to serve on key advisory committees. the v.a. must ensure that enough attention is given to women's programs so quality health care is proid stood both
women and men. i believe the v.a. will be able to provide better health care for women's -- for women veterans, especially those who were sexually assaulted, suffer ptsd or need other help. i i want to thank chairman filner for his outstanding leadership on this issue and urge all my colleagues to support h.r. 1211. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from arkansas is recognized. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent that the statement of ranking member buyer be submitted for the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. speaker. i would like to thank also my colleagues on the house subcommittee, chairman mike michaud and ranking member brown for their work on this bill and i would like to thank chairman filner, ranking member buyer for working together to move this bill quickly and get it on the floor. i'd also like to acknowledge
and thank ms. herseth sandlin for her leadership in recognizes the problem and moving forward with legislation that hopefully will be of great help to women veterans. mr. speaker, i urge all of my colleagues to support h.r. 1211 as amended. with that, yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from california. mr. filner: mr. speaker, i yield three minutes to the gentlelady from illinois, mrs. halvorson. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized. merchandise halvorson: thank youing mr. speaker. i rise in support of h.r. 121, -- h.r. 121, the women's veteran health care improvement act. i want to thank ms. herseth sandlin for her dedication on this issue. as more women serve in the military, they are becoming an important segment of v.a. users. their numbers will double over the next two to four years and many are under the age of 40.
this presents new channels to the v.a. system, whichties historically was designed to serve male veterans. significant changes need to occur to properly serve all veterans. as we heard at the round table, women veterans arrive at the v.a. with a variety of unique challenges. many veterans -- women vet rants do not identify themselves as veterans and seeng outside the system. some feel stigmatized and are afraid to speak out. women who have sought care at v.a. facilities complain that staff lacks understanding of women in combat. the most pressing challenges relate to menlt health, inthrude -- including ptsd, depression, anxiety and behavioral issues. a study reported that 15%