In the last 10 years, the Department of Veterans Affairs budget has more than doubled, reaching nearly $200 billion. Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked that if the debt limit is raised and federal spending levels increase, the treasury must provide another $22 billion to transfer to the VA.
That extra spending was supposedly meant to cover the costs incurred by the VA MISSION Act. But here’s the thing: the VA’s current budget has already been adjusted to account for funding community care.
Concerned Veterans for America Senior Advisor Dan Caldwell recently wrote in The Hill about the responsibility to provide care for veterans with responsible spending:
Ensuring veterans get the care and benefits they earned is a critical part of the social contract our country has made with those who put their lives on the line in our defense. It is therefore vital to our national security to have a properly funded VA. But there is a difference between providing the resources the VA needs to accomplish its mission and raising federal budget levels to spend billions more on the VA without a meaningful assessment of whether those additional funds are needed.
Unfortunately, Congress has too often taken the latter approach, to the detriment of veterans and American taxpayers alike.
Many in Congress would have you believe the VA is in desperate need of more funding to deliver quality health care to our veterans. But instead, members should address the real problems at the VA. Caldwell continued:
Despite the influx of resources, veterans continued to die on wait lists and receive poor quality care. The reason is simple: Congress and prior presidential administrations refused to thoroughly address systemic issues within the VA that wasted money and hindered its health care delivery. They chose the easier path of just writing the VA a bigger check.
Veterans were promised care in return for their service to this country. Throwing more money at the VA with little accountability for how it is spent does not honor or fulfill that promise.