Default on America Act: MAGA Debt Bill Cuts Veterans Benefits
Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the MAGA-majority House GOP’s Default On America Act is loaded with harmful cuts aimed at vulnerable Americans – including our military veterans and service members.
Their plan proposes cruel cuts, including defunding millions of outpatient medical visits for veterans, eliminating tens of thousands of jobs in the Veterans Health and Veterans Benefits Administrations, and increasing the backlog of disability claims for veterans by 134,000 claims. The plan also makes massive cuts to programs our nation’s vets and other vulnerable Americans rely on, including SNAP benefits and housing vouchers.
Every House Republican voted for the Default on America Act—a bill that cuts services and programs that keep our veterans healthy, fed, and housed. It’s time for the MAGA majority to stop playing political stunts with Americans who served our country.
Impact on Veterans Care
Speaker McCarthy’s Debt Ceiling Proposal Cuts $4.5 Trillion In Discretionary Spending To Match FY 2022 Levels, A Move That Has Been Criticized As Hurting Veterans Affairs By Defunding Telehealth Efforts
Speaker McCarthy’s Debt Ceiling Proposal Seeks To Cut $4.5 Trillion In Discretionary Spending To Bring Spending To FY 2022 Levels.
Speaker McCarthy’s Proposal Seeks To Cut $4.5 Trillion In Discretionary Spending To FY 2022 Levels. “Known as the Limit, Save, Grow Act, the 320-page bill includes $4.5 trillion in savings by cutting discretionary spending to fiscal year 2022 levels and limiting the growth of future spending, McCarthy said. It would also reclaim unspent COVID-19 funds, cancel Mr. Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, rescind new funding for the IRS and enact work requirements for federal aid programs, among other provisions.” [CBS News, 04/20/23]
Department Of Veteran Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough Noted A Return to FY 2022 Funding Levels “Could Harm Its Telehealth And Cybersecurity Programs” Due To A “$345 Million Shortfall Within The VA Office Of Information Technology (OIT) And A $465 Million Shortfall In Infrastructure And Technology Funding”…
Following The Announcement Of Speaker McCarthy’s Debt Ceiling Plan, Department Of Veteran Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough Warned That Returning The Agency’s Budget To Fiscal 2022 Levels “Could Harm Its Telehealth And Cybersecurity Programs,” Due To A “$345 Million Shortfall Within The VA Office Of Information Technology (OIT) And A $465 Million Shortfall In Infrastructure And Technology Funding.” “Department of Veteran Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough on Wednesday warned that a move to cap his agency’s budget at fiscal 2022 levels could harm its telehealth and cybersecurity programs. McDonough set out concerns about a $345 million shortfall within the VA Office of Information Technology (OIT) and a $465 million shortfall in infrastructure and technology funding regarding major construction elements if Republican proposals to cap the budget succeed.” [Fed Scoop, 03/29/23]
- HEADLINE: VA Secretary warns budget cap could hit agency’s telehealth and cyber programs [Fed Scoop, 03/29/23]
…Since FY 2022, The Department Of Veterans Affairs Has Seen A “‘3000% Increase In The Use Of Telehealth.'”
Secretary McDonough Noted Veteran Affairs Had Seen A “‘3000% Increase In The Use Of Telehealth'” Since Fiscal Year 2022. “The secretary’s comments follow a commitment by House Republicans, reiterated earlier this month, to cap the federal government budget at 2022 levels. In particular, McDonough stressed the potential negative effects of Republican proposals on telehealth reliability. ‘I’m told the office of [information] and technology would have a $345 million shortfall… which would have a significant impact on network reliability which is increasingly what we use for a 3000% increase in use of telehealth so it would have an impact there, McDonough said.” [Fed Scoop, 03/29/23]
In April 2023, The VA Released A Statement Warning That A 22% Reduction In Discretionary Spending Would “Threaten Critical Services For Veterans,” Leading To 30 Million Fewer Veteran Outpatient Visits,” Eliminate 81,000 Jobs At The Department, And Significantly Cut Veterans Housing Vouchers, “Putting Them At Greater Risk For Homelessness,” Among Other Cuts.
In April 2023, The Department Of Veterans Affairs Said A 22% Reduction In Discretionary Spending Would “Threaten Critical Services For Veterans,” Leading To “30 Million Fewer Veteran Outpatient Visits And 81,000 Jobs Lost Across The Department,” Among Other Significant Reductions To Veterans’ Benefits.
April 2023: The Department Of Veteran Affairs Released A Statement Saying A 22% Reduction In Spending Would “Threaten Critical Services For Veterans—Both At VA And Across The Federal Government.” “While the President’s Budget details a plan to honor our country’s sacred obligation to care for America’s Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors, the proposal to cut a broad range of critical programs by 22% would threaten critical services for Veterans – both at VA and across the federal government.” [Department of Veteran Affairs, 04/21/23]
A 22% Reduction In Spending “Would Mean 30 Million Fewer Veteran Outpatient Visits And 81,000 Jobs Lost Across” The Department. “Threaten Medical Care for Veterans. The proposal would mean 30 million fewer Veteran outpatient visits, and 81,000 jobs lost across the Veterans Health Administration, leaving Veterans unable to get appointments for care including wellness visits, cancer screenings, mental health services, and substance use disorder treatment.” [Department of Veteran Affairs, 04/21/23]
Republican Cuts Would Also “Undermine Access To Telehealth,” Particularly In Rural Areas And “Limit The Availability Of Medical Equipment” For Veterans.“Undermine Access to Telehealth. Access to remote care through telehealth is essential for Veterans, particularly in rural areas. By reducing funding for necessary IT infrastructure and support, the proposal would impair VA’s ability to expand video-to-home telehealth services and limit the availability of medical equipment that can be provided to Veterans so they can attend important telehealth appointments from home.” [Department of Veteran Affairs, 04/21/23]
Proposed Cuts Would “Worsen Wait Times For Benefits,” And Would Eliminate Over 6,000 Staff “Increasing The Disability Claims Backlog By An Estimated 134,000 Claims.” “Worsen Wait Times for Benefits. Under the proposal, the Veterans Benefits Administration would eliminate more than 6,000 staff, increasing the disability claims backlog by an estimated 134,000 claims and forcing Veterans and their surviving loved ones to wait longer for the benefits they have earned, including pensions, life insurance, GI Bill educational supports, and employment services.” [Department of Veteran Affairs, 04/21/23]
The Reduced Funding Would Also “Prevent Construction On The Health Care Facilities That Veterans Need,” Reducing Funding For Construction Projects By Up To $565 Million. “Prevent Construction on the Health Care Facilities that Veterans need. Veterans deserve to receive care in state-of-the-art facilities, but the median VA hospital was built nearly 60 years ago – compared to just 13 years ago in the private sector. This proposal would cut up to $565 million for major construction projects, including critical clinical upgrades to hospitals and clinics. These cuts would negatively impact Veteran health care across America.” [Department of Veteran Affairs, 04/21/23]
Republican Spending Cuts Would “Eliminate Approximately 500 Staff ” At The VA’s National Cemetery Administration,” And “Delay The Opening Of 5 New National Cemeteries That Will Serve Nearly 1.6 Million Veterans And Eligible Family Members.” “Fail to Honor the Memory of All Veterans. The proposal would require VA’s National Cemetery Administration to eliminate approximately 500 staff, jeopardize NCA’s ability to maintain the final resting place of Veterans to national shrine standards, and delay the opening of 5 new national cemeteries that will serve nearly 1.6 million Veterans and eligible family members.” [Department of Veteran Affairs, 04/21/23]
A 22% Reduction In Discretionary Spending Would “Eliminate Funding For Housing Choice Vouchers For As Many As 50,000 Veterans, Putting Them At Greater Risk Of Homelessness.” “Cut Housing for Veterans. Every Veteran deserves a good, safe home in this country they fought to defend. The proposal would eliminate funding for Housing Choice Vouchers for as many as 50,000 Veterans, putting them at greater risk of homelessness.” [Department of Veteran Affairs, 04/21/23]
Reduced Funding For The VA Would Also Increase Food Insecurity Among Veterans, With 1.3 Million Veterans Relying On SNAP And At Risk Of Losing Assistance From Added Work Requirements. “Increase Food Insecurity for Veterans. About 1.3 million Veterans rely on SNAP. This proposal would take food assistance away from Veterans who are older by adding burdensome, bureaucratic requirements, and it would limit states’ flexibility to protect especially vulnerable people currently subject to work requirements. That would increase the likelihood that Veterans and their families go hungry.” [Department of Veteran Affairs, 04/21/23]
A 22% Reduction In VA Funding Would Also “Deprive Veterans Of Mental Health, Substance Use, And Other Health Services.” “Deprive Veterans of mental health, substance use, and other health services. This proposal would mean deep cuts to Department of Health and Human Services community mental health centers, mental health and substance use prevention grants, and other public health programs. Supporting Veterans and their families in the community, especially those not enrolled in VA health care, has been a priority for HHS and these cuts could reduce access to timely care and services.” [Department of Veteran Affairs, 04/21/23]
Finally, The VA Says Reductions In Funding Would Mean “4,200 Fewer Veterans Experiencing Or At Risk Of Homelessness Would Receive Job Training, Counseling, And Job Readiness Services.” “Eliminate Job Training and Other Supports to Homeless Veterans. The proposal would mean that 4,200 fewer Veterans experiencing or at risk of homelessness would receive job training, counseling, and job readiness services provided through the Department of Labor’s Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.” [Department of Veteran Affairs, 04/21/23]