Society

90 Percent Of Americans Want More Funding For The VA

| by Robert Fowler
Spokane Veterans Administration Hospital in WashingtonSpokane Veterans Administration Hospital in Washington

A recent Gallup survey found that three of the most popular policy proposals to emerge out of the 2016 presidential election would require more government spending.

On Mar. 21, Gallup released the results of a questionnaire that polled respondents on whether or not they agreed, disagreed or were ambivalent about three key proposals.

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The most popular proposal was allowing veterans to receive healthcare from providers outside of the Veterans Administration (VA). This idea has actually been touted by Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and also Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Enabling U.S. veterans the ability to access healthcare through any provider that accepts Medicare received a resounding 89 percent net agreement. It may be the most most popular idea of the entire election cycle.

The next policy proposal was using federal money to modernize the VA, which was less popular -- with a 67 percent net agreement -- but remains one of the most uncontroversial ideas of the season. This idea has been pushed solely by Trump.

Finally, there was the proposal to invest federal money in improving the U.S. infrastructure. This would include projects to update roads, bridges, buildings and waterways. This received a 64 percent net agreement.

Federal spending on infrastructure has been a key component of Trump's campaign as well as the campaigns of Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Trump has not specified how much money his administration would invest in U.S. infrastructure but has stated that money used to topple foreign governments would be better spent improving American roads and airports.

Clinton has vowed to invest $275 billion in infrastructure over five years while Sanders has called for a whopping $1 trillion over the same time frame.

All of these proposals appear to be popular with the general public and will require taxpayer money to execute. Clearly, improving the healthcare of U.S. veterans is important to most voters.

The Senate has held hearings with VA officials over the past month to discuss budget increases. Danny Pummill of the Veterans Benefits Administration has urged for increased spending as the rate of veteran suicide has climbed.

“The demand for benefits and service from veterans of all eras continues to increase and will continue to increase decades after conflicts end,” Pummill said, according to ABC7.

The White House has requested an increase of $3.6 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2017. House appropriator Republican Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania has called the proposal a “non-starter,” according to Military Times.

“It seems like VA has chosen the route of increasing everything … without a long-term strategy defining what these approaches should be,” Dent said.

Sources: ABC7Gallup, Military Times / Photo credit: U.S. Navy / Wikimedia Commons