Cuts Would Have Severe Consequences for VA Health Care and Benefits
WASHINGTON, July 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) is extremely disappointed that the Administration still believes portions of the funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may be subject to significant cuts as a result of sequestration, due to take effect in January 2013.
"The Administration has apparently reversed its position that it took earlier this year when it reaffirmed its commitment to veterans and their families by ensuring that all VA programs would be spared from the severe cuts that sequestration would have caused. Paralyzed Veterans of America calls on the Administration to state unequivocally that there will be no VA funding cuts as a result of sequestration," said Bill Lawson, National President of Paralyzed Veterans. "It is simply unconscionable that the offices and operations that ensure delivery of health care and benefits services in the VA face the prospect of reductions in funding. Cutting funding for the administrative functions of the VA health care and benefits systems will certainly have a seriously negative impact on veterans and their families."
Earlier this week, during a joint hearing of the House Committees on Veterans' Affairs and Armed Services, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, admitted that the VA still faces cuts in its funding as a result of sequestration. Following a question from VA Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-FL) about the pending sequestration cuts, Secretary Shinseki stated that VA is exempt from sequestration except for administrative costs. Unfortunately, he did not explain how the Administration interprets the term administrative costs.
Due to a legal ambiguity created by the Budget Control Act last year, the VA was left with the prospect of facing up to a two percent reduction in spending, particularly in its health care programs. While earlier this year the Administration claimed that VA programs would be exempt from sequestration, it now appears that this may not be so. With this information now being made public, Paralyzed Veterans believes it is critically important that the House and Senate consider the bipartisan legislation that has been introduced—H.R. 3895 and S. 2128—that would remove the legal ambiguity once and for all.
"We still believe that this legislation must be enacted to ensure that veterans and their families do not face the possibility of cuts to VA services anytime in the future. If the Administration is unwilling to do so, we hope that Congress will put this issue to rest once-and-for-all," stressed Lawson.
Paralyzed Veterans of America was founded by a group of seriously injured American heroes from the "Greatest Generation" of World War II. They created a nonprofit organization to meet the challenges that they faced back in the 1940s — from a medical community not ready to treat them to an inaccessible world. For more than 66 years, Paralyzed Veterans' national office and its 34 chapters across the nation have been making America a better place for all veterans and people with disabilities. (www.pva.org)
SOURCE Paralyzed Veterans of America