Veterans committee leaders all open to VA cuts

(AIR FORCE TIMES)   The top leaders of the House and Senate veterans’ affairs committees are willing to cut funding for the Veterans Affairs Department in hopes of averting across-the-board cuts in federal spending.

“We believe no constituency better understands the challenge America faces, and no constituency is better suited to, again, lead by example by putting country first,” says a rare joint letter signed by the four top Democratic and Republican members of the veterans’ committees.

The letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is dated Oct. 14 but was not made available until Monday. It is signed by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairwoman; Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., the Senate’s committee’s ranking Republican; Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman; and Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., the House committee’s ranking Democrat.

Murray is also the Senate chairwoman of the 12-member joint committee, known as the “supercommittee,” that is empowered to make recommendations by Thanksgiving on how to cut $1.2 trillion or more in federal spending. The letter avoids the irony of Murray writing a letter to herself by having the veterans’ committee message sent to the entire joint committee rather than to the House and Senate co-chairs.

Miller said in a statement Monday that he remains committee to veterans’ programs.

“We all have a responsibility to America’s veterans to ensure that the benefits they have earned remain intact and that their needs remain a priority,” Miller said. “We also have a responsibility, however, to ensure that during these tough economic times, we provide to the Joint Select Committee information that is pertinent to its decision-making process in a transparent and bipartisan manner.”

No specific cuts were recommended by the four lawmakers, but they attached a list of all of the reductions made in veterans’ benefits since 1980 as part of other deficit reduction packages and a separate one-page list of ongoing initiatives to reduce expenses.

Past budget-cutting efforts have included modest increases in copayments for veterans receiving treatment and prescription drugs for health problems not directly related to military service; making veterans wait until the first day of the following month after approval of benefits claims for payments to begin; raising fees for using the veterans’ home loan guarantee program; and verifying income through the Internal Revenue Service for veterans or survivors receiving pensions for low-income people.

“In past times of fiscal restraint, thoughtful and measured areas of budgetary savings found within veterans’ programs have advanced on a bipartisan basis,” the joint letter says. “We recommend that the select committee refer to these lists when making the difficult decisions ahead.”

8 Responses to Veterans committee leaders all open to VA cuts

  • Veterans, particularly sick & injured veterans, are some of the most horribly abused people in this nation!!!

    Everything I’ve heard from veterans indicates that the VA is an extremely corrupt & dysfunctional agency!!!

  • As a Vietnam veteran, I can tell you, you’re an asset as long as you can kill. When you’re used up and can’t perform, you are a liability. Your govt sees you as a producer or just a feeder. Money will always be there for building empire. The govt would love to see people on SS, Medicare or any other kind of paid for benefit you’ve paid for, just die. You’re a liability

  • Thanks for your sacrifices Rob.

  • Congress should be ashamed. We the citizens pay you well and provide you and your family with health insurance. History will not be kind to your names.


  • The Whitehouse recently gave it’s staff employees a minimum of 50% increases in pay…The head asshole rides around in a Canadian bus burning up our tax money…

    They pay illegal aliens all kinds of benefits…and the list goes on…

    ALL vets need to mobileize and march on Washington…There are millions of us and it’s time to tell the Congress that we’re Mad as Hell & we’re not going to take this crap anymore….

    Like the Tea Party, we need to unite, NOW!!…

  • I petition every vet to not vote for a single incumbent in either party, in 2012…

  • When a military member leaves service he/she is no longer viable “fodder for American foreign policy”, paraphrasing a reported quip by Henry Kissinger in the Bob Woodward & Carl Bernstein book, The Final Days. But I have a better answer in the George Carlin skit on Youtube called the American Dream that you can see here,…you have to be asleep to believe it.

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