Continued from page 1

“If you think it’s too expensive to take care of our veterans, then don’t send them to war,” Mr. Sanders said during the floor debate.

Peter Gaytan, executive director of the American Legion in Washington, said officials should start thinking about the VA budget only after they have fixed issues with management that “have nothing to do with money.”

“If, during investigations, they find delays are due to an inadequate number of practitioners, that’s when you start talking about more money for full-time employees,” Mr. Gaytan said.

Mr. Holtz-Eakin said he doesn’t believe an increased budget would solve a doctor shortage either because it’s a problem facing the entire medical system.

Some veterans say VA underfunding is not the fault of Congress but rather the fault of the president for underestimating VA needs, said Alex Nicholson, legislative director for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Congress has given the VA every penny that it and the administration has asked for to fund the VA. So Congress, for once, is not to blame.

“That’s not to say that the VA isn’t underresourced. But if that’s the case, and we still think it is, it’s because the administration has lowballed its budget requests and has not been honest with Congress about what sums are really needed to do what the VA needs to do,” Mr. Nicholson said.