March 12, 2024

Ranking Member Takano Applauds FY25 VA Budget, Full Funding of Toxic Exposure Fund

Press Contact

Libby Carlson (771-216-2280)

WASHINGTON, DC – Today House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Mark Takano (CA-39) released the following statement after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) unveiled its Fiscal Year 2025 budget, which includes increased funding for the Toxic Exposure Fund (TEF) created specifically to help toxic-exposed veterans in the Honoring our PACT Act, invests more in services and tools specific to women veterans, and ensures VA facilities are being upgraded to provide world-class care: 

“I was glad to see that a number of the main priorities for Democrats on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee were included in VA’s FY25 budget. First and foremost, House Democrats and President Joe Biden held the line on full funding for the Toxic Exposure Fund. VA has seen record numbers of veterans applying for healthcare and benefits in the last two years because of the PACT Act. So I am glad to see this funding is being directed to where toxic-exposed veterans need it most. The purpose of creating the TEF was to ensure we were no longer pitting veterans against one another for funding and that VA has dedicated funding to deliver for toxic-exposed veterans.

President Biden’s budget also proposes increases in three critical areas: women veterans, suicide prevention, and VA facility construction and construction. Women veterans are the largest growing population in the VA system, and have unique needs that must be addressed by VA. VA has made strides to make women veterans feel more welcome at VA facilities. This increase will go a long way in providing appropriate, quality care for women veterans.  

Suicide prevention is my number one priority, and I know it is also VA’s top clinical priority. With a dangerous rider included in the government funding bill passed just last week, now more than ever, Congress should fund and VA should be advancing suicide prevention initiatives that we know work and save lives.  

Lastly, we know that the delivery of care is very important, and that means having modern, upgraded VA facilities. Veterans deserve to have world-class care, and unfortunately, the median age of VA medical facilities is about 60 years old. So it’s great news VA is requesting nearly $2.8 billion for major and minor construction and $2 billion for non-recurring maintenance to address infrastructure deficiencies and improve medical facilities. There is much more to be done, but this is a starting point to ensuring that VA can deliver current and future generations of veterans.

We look forward to discussing the Department’s budget proposal with VA Secretary Denis McDonough at our Committee hearing next month.”