News Logo

Veterans News

Veterans program funding ends up a winner in debt limit deal

In the debt limit deal, veterans program funding emerges as a victorious outcome, securing bipartisan support and ensuring adequate resources for veterans’ needs.

May 30, 2023

Under the debt limit deal scheduled for voting this week, funding for veterans programs is poised to transition from being a highly contentious spending debate on Capitol Hill to becoming a bipartisan budget highlight.

Compared to the non-defense agencies which are used to seeing cuts or flat budgets under the plan, the Department of Veteran Affairs is expecting a significant bump in its spending in 2024, and that is in line with both White House and House Republicans appropriators’ plans.

The Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill last week threw light on the lack of funding
required to maintain services provided through the department along with accusing each other of politicizing veteran support. The new deal says that there is an increase of about 6% in veterans’ spending next year.

The White House stated on Tuesday, urging Congress to promptly approve the agreement. The statement emphasized that the agreement fully supports veterans’ healthcare and fulfills our commitments under the significant PACT Act.

Likewise, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, expressed in an op-ed that the debt limit deal effectively reduces unnecessary government expenditures while simultaneously increasing funding for veteran programs, thereby fulfilling our responsibilities towards our veterans.

The total VA spending would increase to more than $320 Billion from $300 Billion in the current year under the plan to be considered in the House and Senate in the next few days.

Both White House officials and Republicans think that this increase will aid in expanding medical care, mental health care, support for homeless veterans and host other programs as well.

The major portion of the funding will go to cover the expenses of the veterans recovering from illnesses due to chemical exposure and toxins like burn pit smoke. Consequently, President Biden has asked for $20 Billion which would be protected from the annual budget process.
Unfortunately, House Republicans only decided to keep less than $5 Billion in mandatory funds and the remaining ones in the discretionary budget.

However, as part of the debt limit deal, the entire $20 billion would be securely allocated to the Toxic Exposures Fund, effectively removing the issue from the agenda for the remaining budget discussions this summer.

Denis McDonough, VA Secretary said, “That level of funding will allow VA to continue delivering care and benefits to veterans impacted by burn pits and other toxins while serving our nation”.

Besides this, Veteran Affairs officials bring to light the separate provisions that plan to exempt veterans from New work requirements concerning food stamp aid for individuals aged between 49-54. Republican negotiators demanded those key changes as key concessions but these will not apply to homeless individuals and former military members.

There can be a host of payment challenges for federal agencies if the country’s debt ceiling is not raised by June 5 spelling the economic issues for the country. The Veteran Affairs officials also warned about employee paychecks, and medical care reimbursements earlier can be halted if the debt ceiling is not lifted.

Article Sources

Arrow Down Sign

The content provided in this article draws inspiration and includes quotes from various reputable sources, including news articles, government data, and interviews. Affordable Housing 411 strives to ensure accuracy and credibility, but the information presented may be based on some external sources. We encourage readers to refer to the referenced materials for more in-depth insights and verification.

Shane Leo. “Veterans program funding ends up a winner in debt limit deal”. Militarytimes, May 30, 2023, Veterans program funding ends up a winner in debt limit deal (militarytimes.com)

Last Updated: September 20, 2021