How $1.4 billion in budget cuts will impact Veterans


Last week, the House Appropriations Subcommittee marked up the 2016 Veterans Affairs funding bill, and slashed more than $1.4 billion from the president’s requested budget for America’s Veterans. Today, VA Secretary Bob McDonald appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee to discuss that budget proposal.

While some may argue this is not a drastic move, every cut and rescission of funds has real-world implications for Veterans across the country. Here are three ways these proposed congressional cuts will adversely affect the quality of care and services provided to Veterans next year if they are not reversed:

  1. Medical Care

The Veterans Health Administration has expanded access to care, completing more than 46 million appointments between May 1, 2014, and Feb. 28, 2015. That’s an increase of 2 million more completed appointments than during the same time period in 2013-2014. VA has also begun to turn the corner on wait times – 97 percent of appointments are completed within 30 days, including 12 million same-day appointments.

 The 2016 House proposal reduces VA medical care by $690 million. What does this mean? As a result of the overall cut to medical services, an estimated 70,000 fewer Veterans will receive the VA care they need.graphic outlining effect of cuts on VA care

  1. New Facilities

Also wrapped up in the cuts to medical care is a reduction of $582 million to address VA’s high priority construction projects. This cut will reduce VA’s ability to provide additional outpatient services and will impact four major construction projects, including the long sought-after French Camp Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Livermore, California.

VA cuts Facilities

  1. National Cemeteries

The National Cemetery Administration is consistently rated top in customer satisfaction for its work in honoring our nation’s Veterans and maintaining 3.3 million grave sites across 131 cemeteries. Proposed cuts would eliminate funding for several key cemetery expansion projects, reducing our ability to provide burial honors for as many as 18,000 Veterans and eligible family members each year.

VA cuts cemeteries 1

Editor’s note:  This blog was updated to include a release from the Office of Management and Budget.



Reynaldo Leal

- Reynaldo Leal recently joined the VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System as the public affairs officer. He is a proud Marine Corps Veteran who deployed to the Al Anbar Province with 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment in 2004 and 2006. He also took part in some of the heaviest fighting during Operation Phantom Fury in 2004. Before coming to Continental South District he worked on the VA's Digital Media Engagement team and was the State Public Affairs Specialist for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is glad to be back home in his native South Texas, and looks forward to working for his fellow Veterans. He also looks forward to introducing his two sons to all the great fishing and outdoor opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley.


  1. B P Moffit    

    no cost of living adjustment this year either I guess?

    1. David    

      I agree with Wanda Schooler, I place blame on [political party] This Veterans Affairs Department is very much a question of patriotism. And I’m discussed due to the lack of respect for honorable veterans.

    2. wayne    

      Robert Heinlein (Lt. Cmdr USN medically retired) the great science fiction writer, once proposed that the armed forces teach a 2 year long program of history, social sciences, political science, constitutional law and citizenship. further that these people would be the only ones to vote and thereby the only ones to hold office… sounds like a good plan to me. everyone could serve in some capacity…. and qualify to vote.. it is not a privilege for the elite, it is a duty for every citizen…..

  2. Wanda Schooler    

    These [political party] have no respect for the people who protect “THEM & the Country. Not caring about the veterans makes me really question their patriotic ambitions “. I believe they are only interested in they own fat wallets and
    that they have never served the country in any way that did not line their pockets first. Such a pity, someday they will reap what they sow.

    1. Wayne Weidner    

      Why aren’t these peoples names published every time they turn around. By the way who are these guys?

    2. james m. bunte    

      Mmmm.. someday we’ll ALL reap what they sow

  3. Michele Davidson    

    Here are the subcommittee members, maybe let them know how you feel and how it may influence your vote the next time they want it!.

    Rodney Frelinghuysen, New Jersey, Chairman
    Kay Granger, Texas, Vice Chair
    Ander Crenshaw, Florida
    Ken Calvert, California
    Tom Cole, Oklahoma
    Steve Womack, Arkansas
    Robert Aderholt, Alabama
    John Carter, Texas
    Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida
    Tom Graves, Georgia

    Pete Visclosky, Indiana, Ranking Member
    Betty McCollum, Minnesota
    Steve Israel, New York
    Tim Ryan, Ohio
    C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland
    Marcy Kaptur, Ohio

  4. Patrick jahnke    

    U are already hit rock bottom in health care!!!!! Pain clinic told me I deal with pins, needle and burning , scar tissue damage!!!! For another yr. With out any meds that really can help me, not those antidepressants drug make me home body zombie sleep eat sleep and be in more pain. Iowa city va doing this to me so .. Va health care suck try make dentist appt computer not printing out appt for 6 month it going on 8, call clinic I have to call u back day 4 day 6 weekend, so the appts is not working either, Bob got head up the butt, and his board member same place

  5. A Battles    

    What they don’t bother stating here is that the VA is getting a $4.6 billion budget increase (or 5.6 percent) over 2015. The $1.4 billion cut is simply reducing the increase that was originally proposed. They are still getting more money than before.

  6. Harold    

    How about we cut THEIR ( Congress ) pay?

    How about we for them to take Obamacare?

    How about we give them the barebones benefits that employees receive?

    How about TERM LIMITS for ALL Elected Officials?

    How about forcing them to turn over HALF of all they earn from Books, Making appearances, ect to fund the V.A.?

    We NEED to cut THEIR programs!

    How about Forcefully take HALF of ALL profits from companies Like Wal-Mart, Sears, Goldman-Sachs ect?

  7. Edward Clayton    

    So tell me again how dedicated [political party] lawmakers are to ensuring that no veteran goes without the care and support they need. Tell me again about how they want to fulfill the promise this nation made to our military men and women when they enlisted. Tell me again how they love our vets and would never turn their backs on the military families that have sacrificed so dearly.

    Once you’ve done that, please explain to me how the Veterans Administration is supposed to fulfill this promise without appropriate funding? And while you’re at it, explain why every one of the Presidential Candidates endorses a plan to eliminate the Department of Veteran’s Affairs?

    Just doesn’t seem like their actions match their words.

  8. Dr. Dave    

    The administration’s budget request for the VA was for a 7.5% increase ($5.2B) over 2015, for a total of $168.8B. A cut from that amount of $1.4B means the VA would only get $3.8B more than 2015 and is only a 0.8% cut from the total request. That’s peanuts in a budget so huge. The VA spends that much on pencils. What they’re saying it will cause to happen is the same sob story we always get, that cuts will cause these very important things to get cut, but not the real waste and overspending on other things – like the Colorado VA hospital spending that has tripled in cost. So don’t start pointing fingers at how the [political party] hate veterans. Now that the wars are winding down, nobody will love us veterans anymore. That’s the way it works – love us when there’s a war; forget about us when it’s over. Read Rudyard Kipling’s “Tommy.” Even the Brits knew it back in the days of the Boer Wars and WWI.

  9. James Ellsworth Wood    

    Had Blood Work the irst of December with a follow up a week after. this is april and still no appointment. claim i have no provider at clinic.

  10. george waite    

    THIS is terrible news for Veterans.We are going back wards instead of forward.Congress and the Senate need totake pay cuts.We have thousands of Veterans that need care. The VA Hospitals need better equipment for the needs of the patients. Are you putting the Veterans first or are you saying we dont want our Veterans to get the care they deserve?Yous should be ashamed of yourselves.

  11. J R Pomerleau    

    James Chapter 5 4-6
    4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

  12. daniel moore    

    those aholes should try living on ss or va disabilityand stop pissin money away to the middle east abd all the countrys tht hate the USA take care of the people who pay taxes and homeless vets. tighten the imigration laws. we have plenty of imigrants here in AMERICA that hate us and the president and congress bend over backwards to kiss their ass`s wise up congressi hope everyone of those pricks get voted out

  13. AQnthony J DeCarlo    

    A great way to approach these cuts would be to reduce pay and bonuses for VA employees. Another way would be to improve leadership and management of the VA, increase efficiency and effectiveness.

  14. Melvin l fessler    

    Let’s just eliminate 1.4 billion dollars out of the House and Senate overall health care and benefits THEY recieve..

  15. michael stephend    

    The [political party] remind of the nazis; warmongers and rascists. And no they care only about $.

  16. James Tadlock    

    Let us all be a little more enthusiastic next time around at the polls. They can’t do these things if they can’t get into office. The real “people” stay away from the polls and this is what happens every time. Been going on repeatedly for years. Where have all the flowers gone ? Long time passing. Our only power is in the individual vote. We must use it and do not forget.

  17. Hermon    

    So, I guess the only time there seems to be outrage is during election year. Guess what folks, next year the politicos on both sides are going to try to suck up to us veterans to get our votes. Everybody should look at how your congressman or senator has voted on health care for veterans and vote accordingly.

  18. Angelo Torres    

    Once again our leaders fail to lead. We Veterans and non Veterans have to remember all these Leaders on election day. They cut us off, we need to return the favor and cut them off, I mean Vote them straight to unemployment. They make too much and they are the ones that need cut backs. I say start with Congress, then all the way down, cut down their money. We will save Billions in unearned money. Lets remember these awful cut backs on Election day, they will hear our words..

  19. Sheila Conroy    

    Lets hope Obama will over ride this like he has been doing other things lately! This is a shame for our [political party] to treat our Veterans this way! And really not just the Veterans, but the families of fallen soldiers as well.approve this spending ! There are plenty of wasteful things you can cut..such as your salaries..why dont we do that and see how you like it? Lets take away your benefits..

  20. elaine papa    

    These [political parties] have nothing to do with this…Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald on Monday defended President Obama’s plan to scale back funding for the VA Choice Card, and redirect that money to other parts of the agency. The House and Senate veterans’ affairs committees expressed concerns about the proposal. (Associated press).

  21. Raven South    

    It is not just [political party] . . .it the bulk of elected officials. Hope you vote . . .and vote wisely based on the choices available.

  22. David C    

    The Military and its Veterans are just Campaign Props [for the political party]. They are the FIRST to be threatened with cuts when the Corrupt [political party] want to play Budget games in the media, and the First to be Wrongly Accused of “Killing Innocent Women and Children in the Dark Of Night” and now, the proof is being provided, WE are less important than Criminal Illegal Aliens. Nice Unbiased Government employee blog,,,, NOt

  23. David C    

    Washington, Apr 14 –
    The House Appropriations Committee today released the fiscal year 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The legislation contains funding to house, train, and equip military personnel, provide housing and services to military families, and help maintain base infrastructure. The bill also funds veterans’ benefits and programs.

    In total, the legislation provides $76.6 billion in discretionary funding – $4.6 billion above the fiscal year 2015 level. This represents a 5.6 percent increase over the fiscal year 2015 level for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) – including increases for health care, benefit claims processing, the Board of Veterans Appeals, medical and prosthetic research, and information technology. Of this funding $58.7 billion was provided in the fiscal year 2015 appropriations bill. Military construction is increased by $904 million over the fiscal year 2015 enacted level, which allows for full funding of family housing, construction of hospitals and health facilities, and support for critical overseas investments.

  24. Gary Hicks    

    Okay folks, a political comment slip through and now I have a stock pile of Democrats Vs. Republicans comments that will either be edited or not published at all. This is not the place to bash or blame a particular party with one broad stroke.

    If you are upset or disagree with Sen. X’s comments on the budget, by all means, let your fellow Veterans know. State your opinion and thoughts on what should be done. We want a robust discussion.

    However, statements such as “Republicans are racists” and “Democrats are Nazis” does not add value to this discussion/issue and those comments will either be edited or deleted.

    1. DannyG    

      Hey Gary, THANKS. I was getting tired of the politics too. Brothers & sisters, the WHOLE gov’t is messed up, not just “your” party”. Every American should vote, & we should let our elected officials know that we are upset with their performance. Also let them know that We, the People, are going to push for term limits; whether it does any good or not, we can let them know!

  25. Mike Miller    

    Look, you want me to cry about the funding set back for the VA from an increase so they only get a smaller increase? Then fix what’s REALLY wrong with the VA! Wait times that come to find out aren’t really getting all that much better, many facilities show no improvement at all. Fix the cost over runs at the building projects at Denver and Phoenix for example that run into the millions. STOP paying bounes to upper management… Period! And get repayment of bounes from the ones who are payed but have screwed up!
    I lived in Buffalo NY up till a year ago, ALL my health care went thru the VA there. In the 15+ years I had one complaint. And I had a couple of major surgeries. I moved south to Norfolk, VA and I’m getting service out of Hampton. In 6 months, I’ve had 3 different general practitioners! And not one has bothered to look into my past records! I don’t understand how such poor service can be given to an area with such an high amount of military personnel! Multiple bases here that represent just about every branch so I know there are ALLOT of retired Vets in the area and this is what we get for our service.
    Sometimes I want to scream when people say “Thank you for your service”.

  26. John Pender    

    … I am a 100% disabled Vietnam Vet. I will die without V.A. Health Care !
    They wave the American Flag, send us off to war .., then turn their backs
    on us and want to cut what keeps us alive. It’s an absolute disgrace. Just
    like getting spit on when we came home from Vietnam.

  27. gerald strong jr    

    What about the families that lost love one’s
    During va scandal.Where do they turn for help.The president lied to thee american people in front of thousand of American legion people.told there will help for are military families were is it…….

  28. Ed Ball    

    When you have an agency as large as the Veterans Affairs, it’s bound to fail. Bean counters are missing the one vital tool that provides justification to counting. Work Smarter Not Harder. Strive to handle the claim one time, and one time only. How? Quality Assurance Checks. Without “IMMEDIATE” recognition of problem areas, and who is responsible for the mistake(s) within VBA/VHA on a daily basis, the claims process is worthless and a waste of taxpayers hard earned cash.

    Years ago, I took an agency with a monthly 15% error rate, got it down to less than 3%, you have to identify the errors, increase the training, and inform the individual(s) responsible. In VA lingo that’s increasing a 85% success rate to 97% overall success.

    Want to work on the Appeal backlog, implement your QC checks to alleviate the HIGH Rate of Appeals.

  29. Dr. Tim    

    I agree with Dr. Dave. The va is rotten and cancerous through and through. McDonald is a veteran and means well but he is up against the new American Yuppy. These are not veterans but career managers who are given positions of responsibility and unlimited spending power. We buy fleet upon fleet of beautiful sedans for people to go from place to place and everybody gets a vehicle. We send hundreds and hundreds of people to seminar after seminar in Las Vegas, Florida, New Orleans and they come back and all they remember is the partying. We spend millions of dollars on high tech communications equipment that should have made that a thing of the past but it’s way too much fun – we can’t stop. I work at a va and see old veterans and their wives hanging onto each other fighting freezing wind as they cross a huge parking lot trying to get to the hospital because the employees have all the good parking and the disabled parking spaces – and I know these employees and they are in better shape than I am. I don’t know a single veteran in a senior management position at this va. It is almost all women enjoying the good life – good pay, a company car, refrigerator for their office and the best parking. They know all the “words” to use to show you they are a “team player.” Words – that’s what our veterans are getting. This is a “Management VA” and after that it’s an “Employee VA.” What’s left is for the veteran. I’ve asked these managers who the major players in WWII were and not a single one of them could begin to answer – they don’t know a thing about their patient base. To va employees the patients are something they have to contend with in order to get through their day. The patient is a hardship for them. It’s not that they forgot why they were hired – they were never hired for the veterans. They were hired because they had friends or family already in the system. Truly a sick system and a budget cut will affect the veterans much more than it will affect the employees or management.

  30. Bruce ligon    

    No surprise here ! My father in law just passed ( navy ww 2 veteran ), and have been advised since mo “prior ” authorization was given they wash their hands of him for any benefits ! He was being treated for a aortic anureyism that was deemed inoperable. Found him at home in great pain & called 911, transported to hospital & was life fighted to another hospital. He passed away in fight & VA says because the situation was not “prior authorized ” they was their hands of this veteran! If you call the VA, the recording says if “emergency”, hang up & call 911 ! As a Vietnam veteran myself, this is totally BULL !

  31. dennis Blume    

    This is WRONG in so many ways! We protect this Nation, then get F@&$ed without a Kiss! Washington don’t you think VETERANS should be a TOP PRIORITY? We’ve protected your ass throughout history and onwards. It would suck if all Service Members & Veterans dropped you as a Priority! Oh wait the Secret Service has already done that!

  32. Joe Hrach    

    After visiting the VA, I’m surprised that so many Vietnam vets use the VA as their primary insurance rather than using Medicare. I can understand that some vets may not be able to afford $106/month or have lost their jobs and insurance so the VA has to be their primary provider . However many over-65 vets are abusing the benefit. My neighbor is a 66 year old Vietnam vet with a 30% disability; owns his own home; his wife is a nurse; has 2 cars but still uses the VA as his primary medical provider. He goes to the VA for flu shots, annual checkups, dental treatment, and any/all health related problems because it’s free. I know of 2 other Vietnam vets that can easily afford Medicare that also use the VA.

    I’m a 100% disabled Vietnam veteran but I don’t use the VA as my primary medical provider. I use Medicare and private doctors and hospitals for medical treatment. Since I owned my own small business before I turned 65, I always paid for my own insurance rather than relying on the VA. I only go the VA once per year when they call me in for a followup to maintain my VA benefits from agent orange exposure from 2 Vietnam tours.

    Vets 65 and over should be using medicare as their primary medical provider to help alleviate the over-crowding problem at the VA hospitals. Vets under 65 should be looking at ObamaCare for medical insurance. If two Obamacare haters like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio selected Obamacare as their medical provider, then it must be good. The VA would then be able to concentrate on treating those soldiers with serious disabilities from the Iraq/Afghanistan wars.

  33. DannyG    

    Instead of cutting money from the VETERANS Administration, how about we stop paying Bill Clinton, who we IMPEACHED, his $950,000. per year! Let’s start there, & work our way thru every political entity, including the IRS & federal employees that owe back taxes, THEN think about cutting programs. Sounds like a better plan to me, but I’m not a politician, just a proud American veteran!

  34. tomas gomez sr    

    over 200 republicans voted to cut veterans budget for 2016 ! so its time we show them we are not stupid! and that vfw american legion are a powerful voting block! as of today 5-8-2015. i am not a republican anymore! from now on im an independent! cut money from Pakistan! not american wounded veterans! think u can spit in our face and walk away!! we will spit back in your face on election day 2016! im sticking by my brothers!! and all you vets out there! if the republicans cared about us! they would not have done this shameful thing!! lets lock arms together and show them we matter! on the vote for president in 2016!

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