Defense

Defense

Price Tag for VA Conference Bill: $10 Billion

Note: CBO has issued a more detailed score of the bill. The table has been updated to reflect these numbers.

Administration Releases FY 2015 War Spending Request

The Obama Administration yesterday released the details of its request for war spending (Overseas Contingency Operations, or OCO), with a grand total of $66 billion of funding – $60 billion new funding in addition to $6 billion of State Department/international program funding already in the President's budget.

CRFB to Conferees: Care for Veterans but be Fiscally Responsible

Both the House and Senate have passed bills reforming the VA, and a conference committee must now meet to hammer out differences between the two bills. Yesterday, CRFB President Maya MacGuineas sent a letter to the 28 conferees, calling for the resulting bill to take a fiscally responsible approach and honor our nation's commitment to veterans without adding to the national debt.

CBO Finds House VA Bill Could Cost More, Does Cost Less Than Senate Bill

The Congressional Budget Office today released a preliminary analysis of several sections of the House VA reform bill. Like the Senate bill that we analyzed last week, the legislation would increase VA health spending by allowing the VA to contract with private health providers. In fact, if appropriators fully funded the House legislation, it could cost more than the Senate bill.

Paying for A Fix to the VA Health System

Now that both chambers of Congress have passed bills aimed at improving the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system, they will need reconcile their differences, likely via conference committee.

Senate Vets Bill Could Create New $500 Billion Entitlement Program

The Senate voted 93-3 yesterday on new legislation to expand veterans' benefits by allowing beneficiaries to seek out private (non-VA) health care paid for by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Are Veterans Benefits Too Generous?

For several years, the Department of Defense (DoD) has been suggesting ways to trim parts of the Defense budget to make room for other military spending. These recommendations have included modest cuts in benefits for active-duty servicemembers and veterans.  However, Congress has repeatedly rejected cost savings that rein in the benefits for servicemembers.

Senator Sanders Proposes Emergency VA Authorization

In response to the recent VA scandal and hospital backlogs, Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has proposed legislation that would address the situation and authorize additional funding for the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA). Congressional Quarterly's (subscription required) Alan Ota explains:

Another Example of Abusing the War Spending Label

President Obama yesterday announced $1 billion for a European Reassurance Initiative to step up U.S. presence and planning in Central and Eastern Europe partially in response to Russia's actions in Ukraine. The idea itself may have merit, but what certainly does not is the source of the funding: war spending.

President Obama Announces Path of Troop Drawdown in Afghanistan

President Obama announced yesterday the number of troops that would be remaining in Afghanistan beyond the end of the year. While these levels are not final until the Afghan government agrees, they show the most likely way forward for U.S. military involvement in the country.

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