VA funding could be protected from government shutdowns if this bill passes

Abbie Bennett
September 27, 2019 - 1:10 pm

Photo courtesy of IAVA

Veterans should not have to worry about getting what they need from the Department of Veterans Affairs during a government shutdown. 

A new bill filed Thursday could prevent just that. 

Rep. Julia Brownley, D-Calif., filed the Veterans Affairs Protection Act, intended to ensure that the VA's budget would not be affected by a government shutdown. 

Parts of the VA's budget already are protected from government shutdowns, but other areas -- such as processing new veteran claims or reducing its backlog of claims -- are not. 

VA call centers, hotlines, and regional office outreach also are suspended during shutdowns, which means veterans could be unable to get important information about their benefits. 

Transition Assistance Program workshops, which help service members during their transition to civilian life and provide information on benefits, also are put on hold during shutdowns. 

Brownley said her bill would prevent lapses in funding to those resources to try to prevent any interruptions in veteran services. 

The Veterans Affairs Protection Act was filed alongside the Social Security Protection Act, which would help protect Social Security benefits from being interrupted by shutdowns. 

“My bills are intended to highlight the impact a government shutdown can have on some of our most vulnerable and most deserving Americans: seniors and veterans,” Brownley said in a statement. “Our job as legislators is to protect, fight for, and improve the lives of our constituents, not make their lives more difficult. Let’s do that job.”

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Reach Abbie Bennett: or @AbbieRBennett.