Veterans on Trump’s budget request: ‘A very good start’

Matt Saintsing
March 12, 2019 - 12:43 pm
Veterans praise Trump's 2020 budget request

Photo by USA Today

The Trump administration is requesting 30,000 more troops, a 3.1 percent pay raise for service members, and catapulting the Department of Veterans Affairs’ budget by nearly 10 percent. 

What do veterans groups think about this? Well, it’s a “very good start” if you’re asking the Veterans of Foreign Wars. 

“More money isn’t always the solution to every problem, but the lack of it weakens every congressional initiative to improve the VA,” said B.J. Lawrence, VFW’s national commander. 

“What the VFW now expects from Congress is thoughtful consideration of what the proposed budget does for veterans, service members and their families, and what the VFW demands from Congress is a fair hearing.” 

Specifically, the VFW is praising Trump’s proposal that would increase the medical care budget and expand several inpatient and outpatient programs for veterans, as well as continuing the implementation of GI Bill educational benefits. 

They also like the boost of information technology funding and money to break ground on a new VA hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. 

But they’re also taking what they see as the good with the not so great, including a reviving of the controversial round-down of the annual cost of living allowances, VA’s construction budget being cut almost in half, and delays in expanding caregiver benefits for nearly a year. 

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“The COLA round-down is something the VFW continues to strongly oppose because it forces disabled veterans to financially offset VA program improvements,” added Lawrence.  

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“We also cannot expect average 60-year-old facilities to improve with age, nor can we delay the much sought-after expansion of caregiver program benefits to pre-9/11 veterans and their families.”

The budget request is just that, a request and a place to start negotiations between Congresses—who has the ultimate power of the purse—and the White House. 

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