Bob McDonald, Veterans Affairs Secretary, is of the view that House appropriators? plan of trimming down $1.5 billion from the annual budget of his department would ?hurt veterans? if it becomes the law. It should be noted here that this is the second consecutive year for the House lawmakers to propose a smaller VA budget against demands for a higher budget. In addition, it is also the second time Bob McDonald has raised his opinions calling the idea harmful for the veterans who are looking forward to the medical care and housing benefits by the VA.
Bob McDonald, while speaking to a crowd at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, iterated, ?It will impede some critical initiatives necessary to transform VA into the high performing organization veterans deserve. We?re encouraging Congress to fully fund VA at the level requested.?
The House Committee on Appropriations passed a VA spending plan for 2017 with approximately $73.5 billion in discretionary spending. This would be an increase from 2016 levels of approximately 3 percent.
However, White House officials had asked for a 5 percent increased. They are concerned that there is a growing need for construction funding and expansion of VA programming. On the other hand, House Republicans are of the view that the current funding plan covers almost all of these programs alongside limiting the budget.
Note that the Senate appropriators are working towards a different funding measure that would almost be equal to the White House request.