Veterans benefits, including disability and education benefits, health care and counseling, are all exempt from sequestration, according to a Friday report from the White House that spells out the harm that awaits defense and non-defense programs if a way isn’t found to avoid the across-the-board budget cuts. In a good news/bad news report to Congress, the White House said it has determined the entire Veterans Affairs Department budget is exempt from sequestration, a decision that answers nagging questions about whether VA might still be at risk for administrative cuts that would have forced layoffs, pay reductions and travel bans.
Yet, “the bad news for veterans” is largely in outside programs that could be cut. It details some, including Arlington National Cemetery funding. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., said he was pleased that the report provided “clarity” on the effect of the automatic cuts on VA programs. “As I have said since last August, veterans funding should not be subject to sequestration, and I am pleased the administration finally agrees,” he said. “Our nation is facing a critical fiscal crisis. We must solve it, but as most have long recognized, the answer is not on the backs of our veterans,” Miller said. “I am just sorry that the administration kept veterans twisting in the wind.”