WASHINGTON -- It's been almost two decades since Texas Congressman Chet Edwards pledged to take care of veterans. The Democrat from Waco finally has built enough seniority to fulfill his promise.
Edwards used his job as an appropriations subcommittee chairman to deliver a $64.7 billion bill funding veterans and military construction programs. The bill faces a House vote this week.
The measure provides $43.2 billion for Veterans Affairs. That's $6.7 billion more than provided in 2007, and the largest single increase for Veterans Affairs in its 77-year history.
About $600 million would go for new mental health and post traumatic stress syndrome programs, including money for five polytrauma centers. The funding also would help get three mental health and PTSD centers, including one in Waco, operating by next year.