Will the President Veto the 2024 VA Budget?
The 2024 budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs is in danger of being vetoed; in the last full week of July 2023, the White House stated that the VA funding bill is rife with controversy over VA policies on reproductive care and is unacceptable in its current form.
The House VA budget proposal for FY2024 includes $320 billion and, according to sources including ArmyTimes.com, met the President’s goals for funding in many ways, but add-ons to the bill have made it a political hot button on both sides of the aisle.
The bill was approved in the House and heads to the Senate for review before the law heads to the President’s desk for signature or veto.
Objections to the VA 2024 Budget Proposal
House lawmakers issued a statement objecting to the President’s version of the VA budget, saying the proposal potentially creates “fast lanes and slow lanes for veterans’ care and benefits.”
White House objections to the House VA budget proposal include a complaint that it “includes numerous new, partisan policy provisions with devastating consequences including harming access to reproductive healthcare,” amongst other issues.
What is in the 2024 VA Budget?
Traditionally, the VA budget is a less fraught process than the National Defense Authorization Act, which must be passed yearly. For 2024, the controversy affects a proposed 6% boost over last year’s funding levels.
The bill, as presented by the House, also repeals several healthcare policies, including expanded reproductive care options, hormone therapy, and healthcare options for transgender vets. Those are all among the issues the White House objects to in the budget and a potential cause for a Presidential veto.
The Future of the VA 2024 Budget
As currently written, the funding bill may not survive the Senate’s review process. Many senators have expressed “concerns about the controversial provisions in the House appropriations bill,” according to ArmyTimes.com.
There is likely to be further negotiations on this bill. The August recess means September is likely when these issues will be taken up again. There is a danger of missing the deadline to pass the VA budget if the discussions become contentious.
In the event of a disruption of the budget approval process, those needing VA services should know that the VA is funded a year ahead, so the initial disruption in day-to-day VA operations may not be as extensive as it otherwise might.
But that doesn’t solve the problem of a prolonged fight over the funding of this federal agency; daily operations could be impacted if the negotiations drag on too long.
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.