Clarence E. Hill

Legion cheers “landmark” VA advance appropriations measure

A long campaign by The American Legion came to a victorious conclusion Oct. 13, when the Senate passed the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009, better known as the “VA Advance Appropriations Bill.”

The act authorizes financial appropriations for VA medical-care programs one year before the start of each fiscal year. It was already approved by the House of Representatives and is now on its way to President Obama’s desk for his signature.

When he learned of the Senate action, American Legion National Commander Clarence E. Hill said, “Imagine having to live paycheck to paycheck, but not knowing how much that paycheck would be or when it would arrive. That’s the situation the VA’s Veterans Health Administration has been in. This has resulted in hardships for the agency, and even compromises in care to veterans.

“I have every confidence that President Obama will sign this act into law and thus resolve this long-standing problem,” Hill said. “This is a milestone measure, and The American Legion celebrates it.”

Hill has sent thank-you letters to Obama and congressional leaders who were instrumental in shepherding the bill to passage. His letter to the president reads, in part:

“Your signature enacting this critical piece of legislation would be greatly appreciated and a noteworthy achievement .... The American Legion believes this bill will go down in history as landmark legislation in the veterans community.”