MOPH Chapter 177

Sequestration Cuts

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Why VA Programs Will Be Exempt from Sequestration Cuts

Yesterday afternoon the U.S. Office of Management and Budget released a letter to the Government Accountability Office unequivocally stating that all Department of Veterans Affairs programs would be exempt from budget cuts resulting from sequestration set to take effect in early 2013. The VFW had expressed concerns that VA programs -- particularly VA health care -- could be subject to deep budget cuts as a result of unclear language in last year's Budget Control Act of 2011, or BCA.

In yesterday’s letter, OMB explained that BCA amendments to the Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 had no effect on preexisting exemptions of VA programs, including a specific exemption added through tht Pay-As-You-Go, or PAYGO, Act of 2010, which effectively ensured that all VA programs would be exempt from any budget sequestration, to include health care programs.

The letter, however, did not address whether VA administration accounts would be exempt from sequestration of “Federal Administrative Expenses.” Even with potential cuts to VA administration, the VFW stresses that this decision is a win for the veterans’ community that will ensure preservation of the earned care and benefits millions of veterans rely on each day.

“Disabled veterans can breathe a sigh of relief today knowing that VA programs are exempt from sequestration,” said VFW Commander-in-Chief Richard L. DeNoyer
in a statement yesterday afternoon. “Today’s decision means the healthcare plans and programs the VA currently provides to millions of disabled veterans will continue unabated, as will claims processing and veterans’ burial benefits.”

With assurances that VA programs are now safe from sequestration, the VFW must now focus its efforts on preserving military personnel and quality-of-life programs, which face serious cuts in this year's defense budget cycle as a way to avoid deep cuts through sequestration.

To contact your members in Congress and tell them to support and preserve military quality-of-life, visit the VFW Action Corps by
clicking here, and check back regularly with this blog for updates.