Senate panel okays boosting VA mileage reimbursement rate… again

Appropriations Committee agrees to raise rate to 50.5 cents per mile

(WASHINGTON,D.C.) – The Senate Appropriations Committee has agreed to boost the VA's mileage reimbursement rate for disabled veterans who travel to get their health care to 50.5-cents per mile—the same rate most federal employees receive when they travel for work, Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester announced today.

The Appropriations Committee today agreed to set aside $138 million in next year's federal budget to raise the reimbursement rate. The money is part of a measure that funds veterans' initiatives nationwide.

"Veterans everywhere deserve a fair mileage rate if they have to go somewhere else for their health care," Baucus said. "Raising the reimbursement rate is just the right thing to do, especially for veterans in rural Montanawho have to travel long distances to see a doctor."

Last year, Tester secured an increase in the VA's mileage reimbursement rate for disabled veterans, raising it from 11-cents to 28.5-cents per mile. It was the first increase in 30 years.

"I have been fighting to raise the reimbursement rate since I came to the Senate," Tester said. "We still have much more work to do, but this news shows that our colleagues are beginning to understand how important this issue is toMontana's veterans."

The funding is not final yet. The bill must now go to the full Senate for approval. It also has to pass the U.S. House of Representatives before going to the White House for the President's signature.