Secretary of Veterans Affairs visits Boise Facility and reacts to PACT Act

Secretary Denis McDonough
Posted at 4:09 PM, Jul 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-30 18:09:22-04

BOISE IDAHO — The Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough visited the Boise VA Thursday to meet with local officials to see what the administration could do to help the local level.

During his visit Sec. McDonough said, "This facility is among the highest performers we have not just in this region, the upper northwest, but in the whole country. We have vets who move to town so they can get access to the care here."

He also called the senates decision to vote down the PACT Act "inexplicable."

"They have waited long enough to get access to care and access to benefits. So, I urge the Senate to get going and to get this done," said McDonough.

The bill would provide health care for veterans exposed to toxic burn pits during the wars in the middle east.

Sec. McDonough tour was centered around the Biden administration's unity budget agenda

According to the White House the agenda would:

  • Prioritizes Veteran Medical Care. The Budget provides $119 billion—a historic 32 percent increase above the 2021 enacted level—to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare quality and delivery, including investments in training programs for clinicians, health professionals, and medical students. With more women choosing VA for their healthcare than ever before, the Budget also invests $9.8 billion for all of women veterans’ healthcare, including $767 million towards women’s gender specific care.
  • Bolsters Efforts to End Veteran Homelessness. The Budget increases resources for veterans’ homelessness programs to $2.7 billion, with the goal of ensuring every veteran has permanent, sustainable housing with access to healthcare and other supportive services to prevent and end veteran homelessness.
  • Invests in Caregivers Support Program. The Budget recognizes the important role of family caregivers in supporting the health and wellness of veterans, and provides $1.8 billion for the Program of Comprehensive Support for Family Caregivers, which includes stipend payments and support services to help empower family caregivers of eligible veterans.
  • Supports Research Critical to Veterans’ Health Needs. The Budget provides $916 million to continue the development of VA’s research enterprise, including research in support of American Pandemic Preparedness plan goals. The Budget invests $81 million within VA research programs for precision oncology to provide access to the best possible cancer care for veterans.
  • Addresses Environmental Exposures. The Budget increases resources for new presumptive disability compensation claims related to environmental exposures from military service.  The Budget also invests $51 million within VA research programs and $63 million within the VA medical care program to increase scientific understanding of and clinical support for veterans potentially impacted by environmental exposures during military service.
  • Honors the Memory of All Veterans. The Budget includes $430 million to ensure veterans and their families have access to exceptional memorial benefits, including two new and replacement national cemeteries. These funds maintain national shrine standards at the 158 VA managed cemeteries and provide the initial operational investment required to open new cemeteries.