6:17 PM EDT

James T. Walsh, R-NY 25th

Mr. WALSH. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I am a little surprised, quite frankly, at this amendment. I fully expected there would be more amendments adding additional funds to the already precious dollars that are in VA medical care, but this amendment would take $16 million out of veterans medical care. This is money that goes toward surgical procedures, towards pharmaceutical drugs, towards nurses and doctors, heat and lights, and running these facilities. To hand over these funds to the Inspector General's office, to

me, just does not make good sense. So I strongly oppose the amendment.

We have already provided the Inspector General with an increase of $6 million over last year, a 15 percent increase from in their fiscal year 2001 budget. It is also a $4 million increase over this year's budget submission. This amendment would result in close to a 50 percent increase in the budget. I suspect the Inspector General could not handle that much money, they could not put that many people on, and this money is dearly needed for veterans medical care. I would hate to jeopardize the

health of our veterans by reducing this already substantial but certainly dear amount of money.

So I rise in strong opposition to the amendment.

6:20 PM EDT

James T. Walsh, R-NY 25th

Mr. WALSH. If the gentlewoman would be prepared to withdraw the amendment, we would be happy to sit down and discuss this with her at length, and with the authorizing committee, to see if we can address her concerns.