MILITARY MATTERS: Leaders Fear Veterans Affairs Cuts From New Debt Limit Plan

Published: May. 3, 2023 at 5:57 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, DC. (WTVM) - As votes continue on Capitol Hill over the debt ceiling, leaders connected to the White House are sounding the alarm about sweeping cuts impacting military veterans across the nation. News Leader 9 spoke to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs about it.

“The proposal, as envisioned at the moment, risks a 22% cut to the VA budget,” US Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough said.

The US Secretary of Veterans Affairs tells us there would be nearly $30 billion less for Veterans Affairs and tens of thousands of jobs cut in the V-A Health if House Speaker Kevin McCarthy successful in raising the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion, to avoid a US debt default.

The Republican plan does not specifically cut VA funding but puts a cap on overall government spending, forcing cuts. In my conversation with Secretary Denis McDonough, he says the Limit Save Grow Act would hurt the benefits earned by military heroes, like many living near Fort Benning.

“No matter if you get your health care through us, referred into the community or you get your care directly from us in our clinics and hospitals...we’re going to see a significant reduction, As many as 30 million fewer outpatient visits to our clinics,” Secretary McDonough said.

He also believes the proposal would have vets waiting longer for access to health care, cancer screenings and mental health evaluations. But Republican McCarthy’s proposal would save the nation nearly 5 trillion dollars over the next decade, according to the non-partisan congressional budget office.

House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R) explained, “You know if you gave your child a credit card and they kept maxing it out to the Limit you wouldn’t blindly just raise the limit you’d change their behavior that exact same thing is true with our national debt.”

This plan rolls back domestic and non-defense spending to 2022 levels, with hands off the department of defense budget.

“But I cannot imagine someone in conference that would want to go along with Biden’s reckless spending,” House Speaker McCarthy said.

“We provide more care and more benefits to more veterans than anytime in our country’s history. And we’ve been able to do that because we have strong support from both Republicans and Democrats,” Secretary McDonough said.

The House may vote again soon on the plan, but democrats in the senate vow to defeat it.