Shulkin: Tens of thousands of veterans will lose care unless Congress passes emergency funding bill

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin, MD, warned Congress Wednesday that tens of thousands of veterans who rely on the VA for care will experience delays unless the department receives emergency funding, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Congress is right to focus on legislation addressing the VA's long-term sustainability, but emergency funding is a higher priority, Dr. Shulkin said. Congress passed a $2.1 billion emergency funding bill in August that was supposed to last until February, but since September, Dr. Shulkin has repeatedly warned the money would run out by the end of the year.

"As we have made clear for many months, Congress needs to pass a bill this year," Dr. Shulkin said, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee passed a $54 billion plan last week to revamp the VA, including $4 billion in emergency funding, but it is unclear if the bill can pass through the Senate because of lawmakers' opposition to the Veterans Choice Program.

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