http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/18/AR2007061801545.html Hope for a Veterans Windfall Above All Hopes - By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum Tuesday, June 19, 2007; A15 After years of fighting in vain for what he believed disabled war veterans deserved, David W. Gorman is on the verge of getting more than he asked for. Appropriators in the House have voted to provide the Veterans Health Administration with nearly $300 million more than veterans groups such as Gorman's put on their wish list, something that has not happened in two decades. And senators may go even further. Larry E. Craig (R-Idaho) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/related-topics.html/Larry Craig?tid=informline is pushing a bill that would allow vets with service-connected disabilities to be treated anywhere they want, not just at VA hospitals. For Gorman, Washington executive director of the 1.3 million-member Disabled American Veterans, this is a dream realized. "It's a tremendous feat," he said. Republican-led Congresses constantly disappointed veterans groups. But the Democrats now in charge have come through. Publicity about mistreatment of outpatients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-sr...Walter Reed Health Care System?tid=informline has helped, Gorman said, even though that facility is run by the Pentagon http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/related-topics.html/The Pentagon?tid=informline, not the Department of Veterans Affairs http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-sr...Department of Veterans Affairs?tid=informline. Gorman has even had to try to rein in some of Congress's newfound enthusiasm. For instance, he told Craig thanks but no thanks. Craig's plan would cost too much (hundreds of billions of dollars) and would undercut VA hospitals by giving vets an incentive to steer clear of them, he said. Gorman must also remain vigilant about funding, given a possible veto by President Bush http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/related-topics.html/George W. Bush?tid=informline and no one would expect otherwise from him. Gorman, 58, lost both legs under fire during the Vietnam http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/related-topics.html/Vietnam?tid=informline War, yet he walks (and plays golf) with only a slight wobble on prosthetic legs. His organization is just as tough. It has a sophisticated contact system that can inundate targeted lawmakers with faxes and e-mails at a moment's notice. And Gorman intends to keep using that technique. "We have to go through this battle every year," he said.