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VA Officials Seek $2B Budget Reallocation for VHA to Avoid Shutdown

BudgetOfficials at the Department of Veterans Affairs have expressed their concerns over a potential partial shutdown of the VA and urged Congress to reallocate $2.5 billion for the Veterans Health Administration, Federal News Radio reported Thursday.

Jared Serbu writes that lawmakers would need to enact legislation within the week to fund the VA’s hospital operations and payroll for VHA employees through a shift of part of the VA’s 2015 budget.

“When we run out of money, we’ll move funds around between facilities as best we can, but it will affect essentially every facility in the country,” James Tuchschmidt, acting principal deputy undersecretary for health at VHA, said at a hearing with the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

The report said the $2.5 billion would be taken from the new $10 billion budget to provide private-sector medical care to veterans.

Committee Chair Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) agreed with the need to prevent a potential shutdown but raised concerns over the management of VA’s health budget and the late notification on the impending budget shortfall, Serbu reports.

According to the report, VA Secretary Bob McDonald said the budget issue is due to a “mismatch” of veteran healthcare supply and demand.

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