February 10, 2020

President’s budget increases VA funding, but at what cost to our nation’s veterans?

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano (CA-41) released the following statement after the President’s FY 2021 budget request.

“This administration will tout a 12% increase in the VA budget but ignores a much worse reality-- this budget will lead to less food on the plates of struggling veteran families, no new vouchers for homeless veterans, and millions of veterans cut off from key social programs targeted by the President.

“Despite significant investments in mental health care for veterans-- a top priority for the President, this Committee and VA-- these funds direct resources outside VA into grant programs and the PREVENTS Task Force instead of being used to explicitly support veterans in crisis at VA.

“While funding is increased to reduce veteran homelessness- another factor that may lead to suicide- HUD faces significant cuts itself and for the fourth straight year, HUD has zeroed out new HUD-VASH vouchers. Funding one side of the equation is not enough.

“The budget also requests additional employees to help with Blue Water claims processing but ignores funding for claims and treatment for other herbicide exposed veterans despite extensive and credible evidence that their conditions are related to Agent Orange exposure.  

“These increases come at the expense of critical domestic programs that veterans - especially those in crisis- depend on. By slashing programs that ensure security for veterans, like SNAP and Medicaid, the President's budget is reckless and ultimately, runs the risk of hurting our veterans.

“When you consider the Trump budget in its totality, it is a cruel document that cuts housing, food security, and key assistance that millions of veterans depend on.”

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Miguel R. Salazar