Legislators Debate Veterans’ Affairs Budget

Disagreements arise over the Toxic Exposures Fund and other reforms to benefits.

Legislators in Congress recently concluded negotiations on the current fiscal year budget, but concerns arose regarding the potential impact of veterans’ spending on next year’s funding package. Ahead of finalizing the fiscal 2024 appropriations, potential changes to the handling of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) budget and the potential ramifications for planned reforms were questioned.

Central to the debate is the Toxic Exposures Fund, which was established as part of the 2022 PACT Act to cover costs related to the expansion of medical care and disability benefits. This fund, comprising over 10 percent of the department’s mandatory spending, has met with objections and challenges in crafting veterans legislation due to House rules mandating spending offsets.

“If we don’t fix it, the Congressional Budget Office has assured us that this problem will continue to plague the next chairman and future committee members when they try to legislate,” said House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Mike Bost of Illinois at a hearing on the issue on March 21. “That’s a disservice to every single veteran, caregiver, and survivor.”

Both chambers are working to finalize the VA budget for fiscal 2025, which begins on October 1.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For members of Congress as they grapple with rules regarding spending offsets.
  • For wisdom for Speaker Johnson and Majority Leader Schumer as they guide their respective chambers.

Sources: Military Times


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