Veterans Administration Would Be Exempt from Sequestration, OMB Concludes
The Veterans Affairs Department budget would be exempt from the automatic spending cuts slated to go into effect starting next January, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) ruled Monday in response to congressional inquiries.
While the decision is boon for veterans programs, it means defense programs would be forced to absorb the brunt of the $500 billion in automatic cuts that would be imposed from 2013 through 2021, reported Stars and Stripes.
OMB concluded that a 1985 statute takes precedence over last August’s Budget Control Act, leaving all veterans programs, including medical care, exempt from sequestration.
Lawmakers from both parties want to avoid sequestration, but they are stuck on the issue of raising taxes. Republicans in both chambers have introduced measures that would reverse the $109 billion in spending cuts scheduled to be imposed across all federal agencies in FY 2013, but those proposals have not gained support from Democrats. Most political analysts believe serious discussions to undo the cuts will not start until after the November election, with no guarantee the problem will be fixed in the short-term.